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updated: 6/8/2012 10:09 AM

District 214 considers code of conduct for coaches, advisers

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Northwest Suburban High School District 214 is considering implementing a code of conduct for all coaches and club advisers.

The code, outlined at Thursday's board meeting, would provide a written standard of ethics and expectations for coaches, similar to what students have to sign before joining a club or sport, said Randy Hawley, associate superintendent for human resources.

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"These standards are already in place, what was lacking was any documentation or written standard we could reference," Hawley said.

Hawley said the district consulted with others around the state and the nation when drawing up the plan and used input from current coaches and parents.

Under the plan, all coaches or advisers, whether they work for the district or are volunteers, will be required to sign the code of conduct at the beginning of the activity season as part of discussion about the goals and expectations for the upcoming year.

"If someone doesn't want to sign it, they would not be allowed to work with our students," Hawley said.

The two-page code is general but comprehensive, outlining in part that coaches and advisers should exhibit professional behavior toward officials, refrain from use of profane or abusive language, not condone harmful behavior between teammates and exemplify ethical behavior and sportsmanship.

The code does not outline exactly what qualifies as a violation or what the consequences would be for violating the code, both facets that several audience members said are necessary to make the code stronger and more enforceable.

"Every code of conduct I've signed has consequences. I know how touchy a subject that is, but I'd really like the board to consider that," said Tom Conlin, a parent from Arlington Heights who worked with the district on drawing up the code of conduct.

Conlin also suggested the district have uniform procedures for investigating violations, whether it's a championship-winning football coach or an academic team sponsor.

Conlin would not comment on if a specific incident led him to get involved with the district on this issue or not.

"I place a high value on extracurricular activities. The students are so engaged that they'll listen attentively to their sponsors and coaches, which is why the behavior of those sponsors and coaches is so important," board President Jim Perkins said.

The item will come back for a vote at the next District 214 meeting July 12.

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