A Step Too Far?

August 1, 2018

The Santa Fe (N.M.) Public Schools abandoned plans to explore punishing students for their parents' misbehavior at games. According to an article in the Santa Fe New Mexican, two days before the meeting, Steven Carrillo, President of the district's board, raised the possibility of removing athletes from their teams in response to unacceptable behavior by their parents. Carrillo said he did not necessarily support that specific policy, but wanted to make clear the consequences of such behavior, especially when many referees were quitting.

“They love kids and they love sports,” Carrillo said. “They quit because of the adults.”

Kate Noble, a member of the board, said she was unhappy with the attention that Carrillo’s remarks had drawn, and said this was not a good start for the school year, which begins on August 14.

“This is not particularly good policy that we are spending our time on,” Noble said. “To me, this has wasted district resources, staff time [and] my own time and energy at critical time when we’re all going back to school. … I’m pretty unhappy with this. I don’t think we need to codify a parent’s code of behavior.”

Maureen Cashmon, Vice President of the board, said the school can take against disurptive parents and other people through Section 608 of its policies, which allows the district to prohibit visitors who do not “comply with district policies or regulations; engages in disruptive conduct or otherwise unreasonably interferes with, or deprives the public of, the intended use of district property."

Last month, the New Mexico Activities Association's board of directors approved a bylaw that holds members responsible for “the conduct of its team, coaches, students and fans at any interscholastic event,” and penalizes them for violations of this policy.

“Our districts and schools, in addressing this issue, are they educating our spectators, are they being proactive?” Larry Chavez, District Athletic Director, said. “I think the NMAA really did change the bylaws so they can help the districts and hold them accountable for their own fans. I think we do a good job here of being proactive and educating our fans.”

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