The Shawnee Mission athletics department has for the first time since 1999 made revisions to the drug/alcohol/tobacco contract each athlete is required to sign to participate in high school sports.
District Athletics Director Matt Johnson last week unveiled the revised policy to the Board of Education, revisions that have come about after a year-long process that included input from the board, administrators, principals, school athletic directors and coaches, as well as athletes and parents from all five Shawnee Mission high schools.
Among the most significant changes to the policy are:
- The removal between the distinction of in-season and out-of-season violations. Under the current policy, a first offense committed during the season automatically ends the student’s participation in a sport. A first offense out-of-season required the completion of 20 hours of community service before the athletic season began. Now in-season and out-of-season violations will be treated the same and will have different consequences than under the existing policy.
- Under the new policy, a first offense requires the student to enroll and complete a substance abuse counseling program. Coaches and school athletic directors have the ability to set their own rules about additional consequences.
- Under the current agreement, a subsequent violation after a first offense will result in an automatic one-year ban from participation in athletics. Under the new agreement, second offenses would again require the student to enroll in a counseling program, and would result in them being ineligible for 50 percent of athletic competitions for the upcoming year.
- Third and all subsequent offenses under the new agreement would result in a one-year ban from athletics.
- The new policy will also apply to e-cigarettes in addition to tobacco products.
Johnson said the review process was initiated by a request from Superintendent Jim Hinson. Committees had reviewed the existing policy in 2004 and 2009, but had determined not to make any changes.
Johnson told the school board last week that student athletes will likely be required to read and sign the agreement each year, as opposed to once during their high school careers, so as to ensure that they remember the policy and its consequences as they make their way through high school.