I heard a couple of weeks ago that the entire Central girls’ varsity squad was drinking alcohol at a birthday party of one of the members. What was and is extremely troubling was the fact that the head coach was there as well as the birthday girl’s parents and nothing was done about the underage drinking. On the contrary, what is being said is that the head coach advised the girls not to tell anyone, especially their parents due to the fact that their season could be canceled. If it were my daughter being given alcohol I would want somebody to say something. If true, something needs to be done. — Extremely Concerned, El Centro
This question came in two parts, with a second letter being copied to both Probe and Tom Budde, superintendent of the Central Union High School District.
As Budde was looking into the content of the first letter, a team parents’ meeting occurred this week to address the issue.
After that meeting, the second letter stated in part:
“(head coach Ramon Lopez) had a parent meeting on school grounds to discuss the matter and to instruct parents to deny the accusations following the Probe inquiry. … I don’t think any of the players are responsible for the inaction of adults and I think the adults need to be held accountable, every last one that was there that knew this was going on.”
Budde started investigating this incident with Central’s principal, athletic director and coach Lopez earlier this week. He continued asking questions Friday morning stemming from the second question, and got back to us with what he knows to be the chain of events.
Before we get into that, though, Budde said coach Lopez has not done anything wrong. The girls’ squad will not be penalized by the school, nor will any of the players be penalized by the school.
Section 48900 of the state Education Code says the school has no jurisdiction over what may have transpired at a party that was away from school hours, and not tied to a school function, despite the fact that Lopez was there and the team members were there.
The school is responsible for the students in off-campus situations only during lunch hours and on the way to and from school or during school-sanctioned events, like sports competitions.
He did confirm that there was a party in which the girls were found to be drinking. Budde said the coach did not witness the drinking, but when he found out about it, he counseled the team at the next practice and punished them by making them run extra laps and doing extra workouts.
Budde did not say whether the other parents were told of it at that time. But, he did confirm the conversation this week with all the parents so that they would know what was happening.
Because the school had no jurisdiction over this, the incident was reported to parents so that parents can now choose how to deal with the issue.
Budde said he appreciates the letter writer’s concerns, and even shares some of them, but he said there is no reason to believe the coach has done anything wrong.