School District Adopts New Student-Athlete Disciplinary Rule

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The subject of student-athlete fighting has reached a tipping point for the Public Schools of Robeson County in North Carolina.

As reported by The Robesonian of Lumberton, the district has implemented a new rule governing student-athletes who engage in physical altercations or disruptive behavior at extracurricular activities and sporting events.

"We've had some cases where student athletes were involved in fights," said PSRC chief communications officer Jessica Horne. "We hope this rule will address that issue."

First offenders will face 10 days of out-of-school suspension, during which time the student-athlete will also be barred from participation in school activities. A second offense brings a 100-day suspension, without activities. A third offense will result in even more severe but unspecified suspension from both activities and schooling.

The rule aligns with the disciplinary policy already in place for non-student-athletes and includes disciplinary measures to address the behavior of student-athletes attending games at other PSRC schools, including students involved in fights at those games, Horne told The Robesonian.

The new rule was crafted by district leaders with input from the district's athletic director Jerome Hunt and the review of other athletic directors at school levels. PSRC Board of Education members also gave input on the matter, according to Horne. It gives the school superintendent the authority to determine what matters are addressed through administrative procedures and what matters are addressed through school rules, standards or procedures established by the principal.

The rule actually came to the rescue of one middle school student suspended for his involvement in a fight while attending a high school football game Aug. 26. During the public comments portion of the PSRC business meeting, board members heard from family members, friends and the coach of the athlete who was banned from playing football for the rest of the semester. Those who spoke in the student's defense stated that it was his first offense.

"The student was reinstated," Horne told The Robesonian on Monday.

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