TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: To Catch Rule-Breakers, Schools Look Online

To Catch Rule-Breakers, Schools Look Online

Monty Solomon (
Fri, 22 Dec 2006 19:45:30 -0500

Photos show athletes using alcohol, drugs
By Maria Sacchetti, Globe Staff | December 22, 2006

High schools across Massachusetts are threatening to punish athletes
if they are spotted drinking alcohol or using drugs in photos or
videos posted on MySpace , YouTube , or other online sites.

School officials say they are enforcing existing bans on smoking or
drinking, and turning to online sites to catch the rule-breakers. In
at least 20 high schools across the state, principals are warning
athletes that they will punish them for behavior caught online ,
according to the state's secondary school principals group and
athletic association. The two groups estimate that dozens of schools
are using this tactic. Several schools have suspended students from

Woburn High School suspended a handful of athletes from two practices
and one game last spring after police recognized the athletes holding
cans of beer in photographs posted on MySpace. This year, Newton South
High School notified athletes they could be suspended if captured
breaking the rules in photographs or video online.

Schools generally do not punish nonathletes for behavior outside
school, but the 175,000 student athletes in Massachusetts must follow
a code of conduct that bans drug and alcohol use during the season.
The Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association , which governs
school sports, requires schools to, at a minimum, suspend first
offenders for 25 percent of the games and subsequent offenders for 60
percent. Individual schools can set tougher rules, including removing
students from teams or enforcing the rules year-round.

Schools already have been warning students to be careful about what
they post online, but punishing athletes for misdeeds online is a more
aggressive approach.

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