Last night's Madison Daily Leader confirms what anyone with a scanner knew last weekend: Madison police busted a really big booze party in town at 3 a.m. Saturday and caught a couple dozen youngsters enjoying cold barley soup and other fruits of the harvest. Some of the kids involved were Madison High School athletes, so some sober kids on the bench are going to get some playing time...
...assuming, of course, that the school follows File JFCH of its District Policy Manual, accurately cited in Elisa Sand's report last night. Once any athletes (or debaters, or marching band members, or participants in any other extraacurricular activities) 'fess up or are found guilty, they face the following penalties:
- First offense: sit out 1/8 of the total regularly scheduled events of all activities the student is currently in or, if the student isn't currently in any activities, in the upcoming season. In other words, if there's a basketball player who isn't doing football or golf right now, that player takes the hit on 1/8 of the basketball season. The student also gets to sit through a "program of instruction" at Community Counseling Services (hey kids, you think sitting through world history is no fun? Ha!).
- Second offense: sit out from all activities for 12 months (reduced to 6 weeks if you undergo assessment and any recommended treatment).
- Third offense: sit out another 12 months.
That's how things work in the perfect world. But if there are kids determined to avoid the consequences of their actions, maybe even parents helping them parse the above policy for a loophole to let them keep playing... well, that's when the school board might get sucked into something it shouldn't. Let's hope that doesn't happen.
Keep it simple, MHS, O alma mater dear: be fair, be tough, and make the rules stick.