Discipline Policy Up For Review

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Details are sketchy, but it appears the long-standing extra-curricular discipline policy at Payson High School has been, or could be soon, scrapped.

Apparently, school officials have reason to believe that the policy -- which provides rules for the way athletes conduct themselves on and off campus -- might not meet legal challenges.

A threatened lawsuit possibly caused school administrators and at least one district lawyer to rethink the plan.

Coaches and administrators could be soon huddling to see if they can come up with a policy that will meet any potential lawsuits and be fair to all concerned.

Doing away with the current discipline plan, which dates back to 1987, appears to have coaches almost evenly divided.

Some say scrapping the plan is a step backward. Others contend that the policy was far too harsh and took discipline out of the hands of the coach.

For the past 15 years, the policy has dictated what discipline should be administered to student-athletes who break school and team rules.

The offending student can ask to appear before a committee of coaches and parents to plead his or her case. The committee, acting under a set of guidelines, then doles out the discipline.

If the current plan does not live up to legal challenges, as is being contested, there are many athletes who may have been adversely affected by the policy.

When the policy first began to take shape in the late 1980s, there were old-school coaches who thought that discipline should be handled by coaches in each sport. Putting it in the hands of a committee of others was absurd, some thought.

Other coaches wanted to see a more evenly administered plan be applied to all athletes in all sports.

There were some who asked why a strict discipline plan had to be in place for athletes only.

When the average Joe at PHS breaks a rule, there were few or no consequences for their behavior, some said. Conversely, when an athlete committed an indiscretion, they received a healthy dose of discipline.

There are almost as many opinions about discipline for student athletes as there are coaches, players, parents and fans.

One thing is for sure, if the old plan is junked, devising a new one will be a challenge like coaches and administrators have never faced before.

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