Glenbard District 87 conduct code changes draw mixed reaction
Despite Glenbard High School District 87 officials' recommended changes to improve the district's activity and athletic codes, some community members said the revisions would still leave them with a policy that is too harsh on students.
Last summer, about 29 student athletes were suspended from varying portions of their seasons for attending one or more parties where alcohol was present. The incident drew significant backlash from parents and prompted the district to re-evaluate its policies.
According to the district's current athletic code, student athletes are not allowed to attend, host or plan parties where they or others are using illegal or controlled substances, including alcohol.
Athletes who violate this policy for their first time but successfully complete an approved rehab program will be suspended from 20 percent of scheduled contests for their sport. If athletes commit a second violation, they are suspended for one season.
Several district administrators presented their recommended changes at a Wednesday forum attended by around 50 community members. The changes would still need to be approved by the school board.
Their recommendations included creating a clear investigative process for violations for administrators and a FAQ document for parents and students.
Another recommendation was to create one extracurricular code that would apply to both athletics and other clubs.
Assistant Superintendent Rod Molek said the new proposed code for athletics and other activities would incorporate much of the language already found in existing district policy.
But this means the recommendation would not alter one of the key aspects of the athletic code that has drawn the ire of parents: punishment.
If the recommendations went into effect, students who attend but do not drink at parties where alcohol is present could still be suspended from participating in their activities. Those who self-report their violations within 72 hours of committing the violation may be eligible for a reduced punishment.
Some supported the proposals, like Kim Lutz.
"I feel that they have a choice to be in sports, they don't have a choice of what their consequence is going to be," Lutz said. "I'm sorry, they cannot be at parties where there's underage drinking. It's too dangerous."
But others questioned the district's recommendations, arguing the code and its implementation could still be unfair for students.
Parent Amy Schilling said she wanted to know why the district would dole out the same punishment to students who participate in activities like drinking and to those who only attend parties where it's occurring.
"You're not a leader when you're sitting in a basement alone," she said. "You're a leader when you're in your community and you're making the right choice."