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Maryvale changes athlete policy; Targets bullying, other misconduct

The Maryvale School Board on Monday night approved a change for students participating in athletics and extracurricular activities that would punish them if they engaged in bullying, hazing or poor sportsmanship while representing the district.

Athletic Director Stephen Griffin said the new policy is a result of a harassment incident in the district, which he called the first such case. The change also comes as other local districts face issues of bullying and poor sportsmanship by their student-athletes.

"The reason I would like to add this is because a lot of the kids think they are just goofing around," Griffin said. "It might be for them, but it isn't for the person it's being done to. Times have changed, and the behavior isn't what a student-athlete should be doing."

Examples of violations include quitting the team, fighting, theft, drug use and unsportsmanlike behavior. Once a violation is alleged, the adviser or coach will give the student-athlete verbal and written notices that the district will investigate the incident. Student-athletes could face up to a yearlong suspension from all extracurricular activities.

The student and/or parents have a right to appeal any decision to district officials.

The new policy will go into effect during the fall sports season. All student-athletes and their parents or guardians will be required to sign it.

In other action, the board authorized the administration to continue with the potential sale of the North Hill building.

Aspire of Western New York School, which currently rents the North Hill building from the district, is interested in purchasing the property for $625,000. However, the sale would be conditional on whether Aspire would be able to rent additional space from the district. The company would like to renovate and expand North Hill.

The sale also requires approval from district residents through a ballot referendum.