14
Dec
10

parents, coaches and administrators…read this kid’s letter and try not to cringe!

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8 Responses to “parents, coaches and administrators…read this kid’s letter and try not to cringe!”


  1. December 14, 2010 at 9:32 AM

    http://blog.syracuse.com/hs-sports-talk/2010/12/westhills_athletic_code_highly_unrealistic.html

    Arguably the dumbest kid walking the planet. Let me know what you think. Some of you noted you had trouble getting to the article so i copied it below for you. Read on.

    Aubrey Zych – Up until June 26, 2010, I spent almost every Monday through Friday between September and June at Westhill High School. In my four years there, I met new friends, grew apart from old ones, and left a completely different person from who I was when I first arrived there. I often think about my high school memories, the good and the bad, and think about how much has probably changed in just the short time since I left there. When I walked out of those doors, I never looked back once. I actually never dreamed of going back to visit. I was moving on, like all students do after high school.
    That all changed the other day when one of my best friends, who is still in high school, told me she had been suspended from extra-curricular activities for 30 days. Why? Because she was honest when asked if she was at a party last weekend. She admitted the truth while many of her other classmates who were at the exact same party as her, lied, and walked away unpunished. Tell the truth, get kicked off the track team for a month. Lie, go have fun at practice. It was then that I decided to revisit Westhill High School and ask that they reconsider the suspension.
    During my time at Westhill, I was more involved than most students, and definitely made a positive name for myself. I played varsity soccer for three years, ran indoor and outdoor track, participated in student government, the winter musical, and French club. And occasionally on the weekends, I drank alcohol.
    What? What’s that? An 18 year old kid in high school … drank … alcohol?
    Yes, the truth finally comes out. Sorry, Mom. Sorry, Dad. Sorry, State of New York. But I drank alcohol when I wasn’t 21 years of age.
    Did I binge drink my way to near-death every Friday night? No. Did I drink before or during school events? No. Did we always have a designated sober driver? Yes.
    Like a large percentage of all high school student, I occasionally had a few drinks with my friends on the weekends unless I had a game or track meet the following week. Any other current and former three-sport athletes out there know that this does not happen often. The few times I went out, I worried mostly about my parents catching me. I worried that the pictures that were taken that night would be put up on Facebook, and someday a future employer would see a picture of me with a beer in hand. I worried about all the signs hanging around school that, more or less, said if you drink alcohol and get in a car, you will kill everyone and be remembered as the drunk high school drop-out that everyone hates. I worried about a lot of things. However, I never worried about my teacher making a fake Facebook account and going through my pictures. Then, reporting my classmates and me to the principal causing me to get kicked off the track team for a month. I never worried about my friend’s mom calling the school and demanding that all the kids who were drinking that weekend be punished. I never worried about that.
    Why?
    Why should I? I don’t believe it’s the principal’s job to scold me for what I do outside of school, on my own time, in my own home. That is my parents’ job. Why should some other parent get me in trouble through my high school principal, rather than just call my parents herself? What does my drinking at my friend’s house have to do with my high school? Most curiously, when has it become the job of a teacher to dig into my personal life? And since when is it legal to make a fake Facebook account? Oh right, it’s not.
    There is no denying that underaged drinking is against the law. When high school students crack open a beer, they are breaking the law. However, school principals are not police officers, and they are not state law-enforcers. If I were drinking at a school event, promoting drinking at all while in school, or even wearing a Westhill t-shirt in a picture of myself with a beer, I can absolutely understand punishment from the school. That is disrespecting the school, and a direct offense to the rules and policies. Plenty of students are suspended each year for showing up to school events intoxicated, and I absolutely concede that this behavior deserves punishment from the school. It was done on school grounds, and directly offended the school.
    However, when a student threw a party just a few weekends ago at his own home, there are no justifiable reasons why the principal felt it was his responsibility to call down and question every student. Moreover, it’s absurd to harshly punish just the few honest students who admitted to attending the party, when in reality, half the school was there. What message does it send when those students who lied to avoid getting in trouble are the only ones not suspended? Of all the students who attended the party, only two were upfront and honest about their actions. Consequently, they were suspended from extra-curricular activities for 30 days. Two students. I highly doubt there were only two people at that party last weekend.
    The justification for this is the athletic code of conduct. Of course, high schools need rules and need compliance with the students about behaving on and off the field. However, the athletic code of conduct at Westhill is exceedingly unreasonable and unfortunately disregarded by the athletes. If every athlete that signed the code of conduct really truly followed the promises and rules within it, there would be very few athletes at Westhill. Yet the students are given no choice but to sign them if they want to join a sports team. The policy states that any illegal drug or alcohol use, at school events or not, will result in suspension from sports for 30 days. Even more troubling, the policy also states that any student even around alcohol, whether they are consuming it or not, will be punished. What’s that saying? If your friend calls you up Saturday night and asks for a ride home because she’s too drunk to drive, you’re supposed to say, “Sorry I can’t. It’ll get me kicked off the soccer team. Good luck with that.”

    A serious question that all students and parents should be asking is why the school is punishing students for what they do on their own time, and why there are such strict rules enforcing student behavior outside of the classroom. The role of teachers and administrators of a school is to educate students, create a safe learning environment, and promote well-being in the classroom. It has never been, and should never be to critique students on their behavior outside of school. That is the job of the parents. Let them deal with it. Suspending a student from sports for going to a party is completely contradictory to the school’s objectives about well-being. This formally active student is now removed from their extracurricular activity. What is the student going to do on their weekend now that he or she doesn’t need to get up at 7 AM for practice? What is the student going to do after school that is so much better than him or her attending practice? Will the school be there to make sure they are behaving properly when they aren’t athletes? Or are just those who signed the policy targeted?
    I think it’s time the school faced the facts; student athletes are going to drink and they’re going to make mistakes. Making mistakes is all part of growing up. Creating policies that only use taking away sports as leverage is not going to keep kids from drinking. Certainly, all teachers and parents want to keep their kids safe. But realistically, these parties are going to happen. Why destroy a student’s sports career when there are so many more effective ways to punish a student and promote well-being?
    There are many ways to punish these students without taking away their extracurricular activities completely. If the school wants to dig into the students’ personal lives and punish them for actions that have absolutely nothing to do with the school, why not make them attend Saturday detention? Why not make them give a presentation to the school on alcohol abuse or have them attend alcohol abuse classes? Why not put their punishment to actual use instead of making them sit at home watching television and eating chips all afternoon? More often than not, playing sports keeps kids from drinking and keeps them at home on the weekends, and in bed on time. An even more pressing question parents and students should be asking is how is it that the teachers have so much spare time to go on Facebook and Myspace and get involved in students’ personal lives, while the graduation rate at Westhill is diminishing?
    In writing this letter, I want to make it extremely clear that this is not directed towards every teacher at Westhill. The teachers of Westhill prepared me for life better than anyone and I never thanked them enough for it. However, there are always exceptions and I think too many people overlook exactly what the school is doing and how they are punishing the students. Some of the teachers at Westhill need to seriously spend a little less time on Facebook, and a little more time in the real world. Teenagers drink alcohol. They have been for years, and they will be for years to come. Kicking them off a sports team, and even worse encouraging them to lie about it through punishing only those who told the truth, is unfair. The punishment needs to fit the crime. And moreover, it’s not the school’s right to raise a child; it’s the parent’s. Focus more on the behavior in the classroom and leave the poor behavior on the weekend and on the internet to the parents.

  2. 2 Aubrey Zych
    December 14, 2010 at 12:39 PM

    Hey Coach Tony,

    Just wanted to say thank you for further advertising my article. Also, if you want people to take your blogs and comments seriously, I highly recommend you approach it with a much higher level of maturity. Calling me “arguably the dumbest kid walking the planet” does nothing but make you look like an old, bitter, cyber bully. I hope when I reach your old ripe age, I have better things to do with my time than argue with teenage kids.

    Thanks again for suggesting my article to all your fans. Hopefully they find it intriguing enough to also post it on their sports fanatic trash site.

    Aubrey Zych

  3. December 14, 2010 at 3:15 PM

    Sounds like someone will be calling the show on Sunday…

    Tell you what, kid. I’m gonna reach out to the Athletic Director and the Principal of this school and ask them to come on as well. My guess is the rest of the mistreated youth on your blog will love that.

    If you can send me names and contact information for the school and the administrators, I will reach to them today.

    BTW, if any “old folk” care to defend this kid’s position, please do. I can’t wait to hear…

  4. 4 old guy old values
    December 15, 2010 at 10:07 AM

    Tony – altough I do not agree with this students endorsement of underage drinking (with full acknowledgement that I did it and would be surprised if you didn’t yourself) …. I do agree that this principal has overstepped his bounds and this is an issue for her parents.

    • December 15, 2010 at 10:20 AM

      from one old guy to another, let me be clear. I certainly had my share of beers when I was a kid. We didn’t have written codes of conduct and so I didn’t know any specific consequences.

      As for the principal, if you say he overstepped his bounds because of the punishment, I disagree. If you think he overstepped because of setting up false FaceBook accounts, i can see your point but think about this before you commit to a position. I can set up all the fake FaceBook accounts I like. But they only work if the kid accepts me as a friend, period. As a parent, I’m appalled that with all the information that is given and all the accounts of sexually abused kids, the something like this would happen. If this girl accepted a friend request from someone she didn’t know, that is beyond bad.

      Instead of getting caught drinking, we could very well be reading about her as the latest young girl to be abducted by an online predator. Instead of sitting the bench for 30 days, she could be behind a bush, raped and murdered.

      Still think the guy overstepped his bounds? Or perhaps did one more stupid young girl open the door for bad people to do bad things.

  5. December 15, 2010 at 10:21 AM

    I hope you all call Sunday because going back and forth in posts really doesn’t work for an issue like this.

    The blog up in Syracuse, where this took place, is a mess. Too many opinions and too mahy people trying to respond to too many points.

    Let’s do this. You can give a basic opinion here but I truly need BOTH the parents and the kids to chime in during the show so please spread the word.

    Best

    Coach Tony

  6. 7 jodi smith
    December 15, 2010 at 10:26 AM

    i think coach tony is an ass…

    • December 15, 2010 at 10:29 AM

      so do most people…but ahhh, can you explain why? Do you really disagree with anything I’ve stated?


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