Liberty removes 2 girls from team after prank

Lacrosse players added toilet water to drinking jug


May 12, 2004|By Mary Gail Hare | Mary Gail Hare,SUN STAFF

Liberty High School in Eldersburg has removed two girls from its junior varsity lacrosse team for the rest of the season and suspended them from classes for three days as a result of a malicious prank the players pulled on their teammates last week.

The girls, whose identities are being withheld, were players as well as water carriers for the team. Before taking to the field at a game last week, they drew 16 ounces of water from a urinal in the boys bathroom and added it to the nearly full 10-gallon jug the team uses for drinking water. The girls delivered the jug to the team's sidelines, where most players typically fill drinking cups during the game.

School officials confirmed yesterday that two female students at the school were involved in the incident, but would not reveal their names or ages.

"We have taken disciplinary actions against the students involved," said Charles I. Ecker, superintendent of Carroll County public schools. "The girls have been permanently removed from the team and are suspended from school for three days."

Concerned about possible health implications stemming from the prank, Liberty's administrators contacted the county Health Department on Thursday. After a brief investigation, health officials said the players are in no danger of contracting disease from the tainted water.

"The girls added clean water from a urinal," said Debbie Middleton, program manager for communicable diseases at the county Health Department. "Yes, the water came from a toilet, but you have to flush to get the water. This is city water, already chlorinated and it was diluted with the water in the jug. There is no risk at all from drinking this water."

No inoculations or other precautionary measures are necessary, Middleton said. There is no need to test the team for hepatitis A, a contagious virus often associated with poor hygiene.

"There will be no follow-up," Middleton said. "There is no chance of hepatitis A from this incident."

The suspension marks the second time in the past two weeks that school officials have had to discipline high school athletes.

Ecker ejected six boys from the lacrosse teams at Liberty and South Carroll high schools last week and issued a one-game suspension to six more players. He took the action in response to an on-field melee involving athletes and adult spectators at a lacrosse game April 30 between the two schools.

State police charged William A. Bell Jr., 39, of Mount Airy with second-degree assault Thursday in the attempted choking of a Liberty assistant coach during the brawl.

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