PHS coaches disciplined after incident

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, April 12, 2005

A recent incident involving the 2004 state champion Pelham baseball team may force the revision of school board policy regarding field trips.

Ten PHS baseball players were sent to alternative school and removed from the team following an incident involving alcohol during a spring break trip to Cocoa Beach, Fla.

Coaches also faced disciplinary action last week from the school system, according to public relations supervisor Cindy Warner.

&uot;The investigation concluded that supervision was not up to an acceptable level on the evening of the incident,&uot; Warner said.

The extent of that discipline was unavailable due to employee confidentiality issues.

Warner said although out-of-state field trips must be board-approved, it is up to the principal and trip sponsor to determine what appropriate supervision is in each individual case.

&uot;However, Mr. Major has said this particular incident may lead to a situation where (the school board) need(s) to develop certain policies to ensure this doesn’t happen again,&uot; she said.

Twenty-one members of the team and three coaches traveled to Florida for a spring break baseball tournament.

An investigation by school officials showed that alcohol was purchased and provided to the students by one of the parents.

Previous media reports indicate the parent provided several bottles of vodka to the 10 players.

Warner said the incident had been reported to the Shelby County District Attorney’s office; however, since the incident occurred in Florida and not in Shelby County, it was unclear whether the local DA’s office had jurisdiction to press charges against the parent.

Warner said an investigation by school officials determined that the players &uot;were in violation of both team rules and the Shelby County Code of Conduct which governs students’ actions while on school premises or during school-related functions,&uot; such as the trip to Florida.

For that reason, Warner said, the players were dismissed from the team and will spend time at the county’s alternative school.

This is the second major incident involving alcohol among Pelham High athletes this school year.

In late October, 18 football players received suspensions after photographs surfaced of them at a party where alcohol was present.

Pelham head baseball coach Mike O’Berry pulled several players up from the junior varsity squad to replace the dismissed players.