Berkeley Springs High School develops new code of conduct for athletes

August 19, 2008|By TRISH RUDDER

BERKELEY SPRINGS, W.Va. - Bad behavior by athletes at Berkeley Springs High School will not be excused. This year's new code of conduct has everything in writing.

Chad Brinegar, the school's athletic director, said the reason for the new code of conduct was "mixed interpretation between the coaches and the athletes." So the staff revised some things to bring about "unity with both," he said.

Brinegar would not be specific about past problems.

"We are like every school that has their share of problems, and we just want to make it better," Brinegar said.

"We want our athletes and coaches to lead by example, and that includes no use of drugs, respect for others and to be leaders in our community," he said.


The coaching staff has 31 members plus Brinegar, who is starting his fifth year as director.

The projected enrollment for Berkeley Springs High School this year is 758 students, said Joan Willard, assistant superintendent of Morgan County Schools.

Brinegar said two-thirds of the high school students participate in athletic programs.

The code of conduct does not allow the use or distribution of alcohol, drugs not prescribed by a doctor, tobacco products, marijuana, or any controlled substance or narcotic drug.

Laura Smith, president of the Morgan County School Board, said the staff wanted to make sure the athletes conduct themselves properly off the field, as well.

"What you do off the field and outside of school still affects your health," she said, adding that the code aims to make students "think twice about the consequences of your actions."

As part of the code, athletes must agree to conduct themselves properly when representing Berkeley Springs High School and "not cause embarrassment to the school by my actions on or off the field or court."

They must have respect for all schools' property. They must show respect for all coaches in the Berkeley Springs athletic program, according to the code.

A contract is signed by the athlete and a parent, and returned to the school, Brinegar said.

Brinegar said the department wants everyone to understand the new code, including parents.

"We want to make sure everyone understands our expectations and understands the consequences," he said.

Brinegar said one of the main goals of the athletic department is to teach athletes to respect themselves, to achieve academically and to understand that playing sports at Berkeley Springs High School is a privilege.

John Rowland, the high school cross country coach, added: "I think it's excellent. We always need everything in writing to make sure there are no misunderstandings."

"There are younger ones out there that hero worship. It is important for them to set the right example," Rowland said.

Smith said the pranks and property damage done by students in Berkeley and Jefferson counties during the last school year was one of the reasons for updating the conduct code.

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