Nine St. Joe athletes among 10 suspended

Alcohol present at party they attended last week

High Schools

April 05, 2005|By Pat O'Malley and Lem Satterfield | Pat O'Malley and Lem Satterfield,SUN STAFF

Ten students, nine of whom are varsity athletes at Mount St. Joseph High School, have been suspended for attending a party where alcohol was present.

Police were called to a house where the party was held last Wednesday. Seven of the athletes are baseball players -- six of whom are starters -- and two are lacrosse players.

"The 10 involved were immediately suspended from school and are still out of school [as of yesterday] pending a meeting of the parents and students with our principal, Barry Fitzpatrick, and president, Brother [James M.] Kelly," said Dave Norton, Mount St. Joseph's director of studies and baseball coach. "After they have their [respective] meetings, final penalties will be assessed over the next couple days.

"We're going to do the right thing, and they will be disciplined."

Norton said athletes could be suspended from competition for as many as 30 days, or the entire season, depending on the circumstances.

"This is a teaching moment, and I'm a teacher first," Norton said. "It's an internal thing and we will deal with it."

Norton's then-No. 3-ranked baseball team (7-4) lost its first game after the suspensions, 4-1, to Gilman on Friday. The Gaels defeated Loyola, 5-4, yesterday.

"Right now we are playing with 10 players and will wait to see how long the suspensions will be before bringing up players from the [junior varsity]," Norton said.

Without the suspended players, the lacrosse team (5-1) upset then-No. 9 Severn, 5-4, on Friday.

Mount St. Joseph and other schools have had to deal with similar incidents this school year.

After being found in possession of marijuana this past fall, a Mount St. Joseph wrestler was barred from competition for the season.

The wrestler later withdrew from the school and enrolled in a Montgomery County public school.

In March, citing a violation of the school's code of conduct, Dulaney suspended 14 athletes from its spring teams for a month for attending a private party on March 4 where alcohol and marijuana were used.

Dulaney principal Lyle Patzkowsky told The Sun that athletes and their parents sign an athletic code of conduct that "states that students will refrain from using alcohol, tobacco or other drugs during their sports season and will not be in attendance or participate in any environment where underage [use] or use of prohibited substances is involved."

As many as 76 students were charged that night with underage drinking, and about a dozen more received citations at the school. The Dulaney athletes have been permitted to attend school during the suspensions, which end April 18.

In an incident involving a Fallston senior athlete, the player was caught smoking shortly after practice at his off-campus job, and as a result, expelled from the team, the school's athletic director, Dave Cesky, said. Fallston, like Dulaney, has an athletic code of conduct that must be signed and adhered to by participating athletes and their parents, said Cesky.

"Confirmed use, possession or distribution of alcohol or illegal drugs either on or off campus in the community will result in expulsion from the team for the remainder of the season," Cesky said, reading from the official rule. "They [students] can't go out for the team until this form is turned in," along with the other appropriate paperwork, Cesky said.

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