Athletic policy change prompts heated exchange

BOURBON — Controversy flared as the Triton School Board met in regular session Monday evening. Two varsity coaches — Steve McBride, softball and Jack Carpenter, golf — expressed their opposition to the new athletic handbook policies approved at the June 10 school board meeting.
Their objections centered on the Board’s decision to apply the new rules, drafted and presented by Athletic Director Mason McIntyre, to three student athletes who are currently under sanctions from this year under the former policies.
Both coaches felt that the new system, with its “four strike” policy rather than three strikes, was too lenient, and that the three students should be disciplined by the policies under which they committed their offense(s).
The Board had examined this very issue at length during its June 4 work session in which it approved the new policies. The key point, according to McIntyre and agreed to by Board members, is that the old policies are too vague and open to different interpretations.
“While it might seem at first glance that the new policy is more lenient with an extra ‘strike’ than the old one,” McIntyre said in a previous Pilot News story, “the truth is that it is more stringent and more easily understood and enforced.”
Board member Steve Stichter said that once the Board determined decisively that the new policies were in the best interests of the students, it could not ethically continue to uphold the former policies, which it considered inadequate.
McBride said that his main concern with the new policies was that a student under sanctions to sit out one athletic season, could try out for softball knowing that they could not play at all, and take up his time and space on the bench just so they could then play a fall sport the following year.
Board President Amy Middaugh said that a coach would not be required to add a student to the team under those circumstances, and that each case would be a coach’s decision.
The Board took no action to change its approval of the new policies or its decision to apply them to the three students currently under sanctions.
In other matters:
• The board accepted the resignation of Marcile Lindsey as study hall supervisor and instructional assistant.
Sarah Stockinger was hired as the new Spanish teacher, as well as Jim Bontrager and Vicki Markley as part-time custodians.
Superintendent Donna Burroughs’ contract for 2013 – 16 was approved, as were administrators’ contracts for Michael Chobanov, Bob Ross, and Jeremy Riffle for 2013-15.
Contracts for Josh Van Houten, Christine Cook, and Mason McIntyre were approved for 2013-14.
• A resolution was adopted, as required by law, to allow 50 students in each grade level to transfer in to Triton schools for the 2013-14 school year, and allowing the transfers to take place any time.
• Burroughs reported that the sidewalk lighting project was completed, that the roof repair at the elementary school was finished, that new carpeting will be installed by the end of July, and that paving work on the high school parking lot and drive-up would begin Monday.
• In expanding on staff training conducted during the summer, Burroughs reported that science and engineering were the focus for this training cycle.
Cathy Strycker, third-grade teacher, attended a SLED (Students Learning Through Engineering Design) workshop at Purdue. Janet Jackson, junior high science teacher, spent a week at IU Kokomo with Project Lead the Way, a project-based learning system. Dawn Slein, high school science teacher, spent two weeks at Purdue preparing to teach a new biomedical science course which will connect for dual high school/college credit with Project Lead the Way.
Denise Voreis, Cathy Strycker, Rick Collins, Casi Painton, Theresa Watkins, Janet Jackson, and Alli Heeter all attended a two-day workshop on the science Inquiry Bowl held at Triton and funded by a grant from the Marshall County Community Foundation.
• On Saturday, July 13, a volunteer crew assembled modular playground equipment and removed bushes from outside the school library and elsewhere. Thirty people were needed to help, and were asked to assemble at the school at 8 a.m.
• Jr./Sr. High Assistant Principal Bob Ross reported that finals for summer school will be held July 22.
• The Harmony computer data system which allows parents to access their child’s grade progress report is not working well, according to complaints received at the office. Burroughs said that a new edition of the program was being installed, which probably accounted for the glitches during this in-between period.
Ross indicated that scheduling will be finalized the first week of August when the guidance counselors return to school.