Three Strikes and You’re Out

Madi March and Paige Laurie

Student-athletes– some of the students contributing to the pride and joy of Manitou Springs– are held to a higher standard than most of their peers. Meant to be symbols of responsibility and examples of good citizens, some athletes fall short of those goals and fall victim to the Three Strike Policy, prohibiting them from playing their sport.

“They are held to higher expectations because they are representatives of our school,” said Jesse Hull, Vice Principal of Manitou Springs High School (MSHS). Students that don’t participate in any Interscholastic activities are still required to follow rules, but athletes have extra rules outlined for them in the Athletic and Activity Registration Packet and Handbook.

As stated in the handbook, there is a strict no alcohol, drugs or tobacco policy. This is the quickest downfall for most students with both Colorado High School Athletic Association (CHSAA) and MSHS having a zero tolerance policy. With the first offense, suspension from 20% of games and events is called for that particular sport. The second offense continues to rise in punishment level, with the student being suspended from all competitions and events for one calendar year from the time of the offense.

“Third offensive is basically you’re suspended from all scheduled competitions for the rest of your high school career,” said Athletic Director Cameron Jones.

Most students don’t reach the final strike during their high school career, many learn their lesson and reevaluate their commitment to their sport. Students can also steer clear of any offenses after their first strike for the next year to earn a “clean” record. There is also the option to complete a Restorative Justice Program after a second strike, but very few students opt to complete this.

“It’s always tough to investigate out of school incidents,” said Jones. “It’s hard to sift through all the lies different students are telling and one party can result in 15 or so suspensions and we try to do our best to be as fair as possible and reprimand the right students.”

While school administrators always aim for fairness, some think that certain students tend to be given lighter punishments. “I think some kids are favored, like the ones in the cliques,” said an anonymous third strike athlete. Parents have also been known to try to get their children out of punishments, but the majority of coaches, teachers and parents here at Manitou believe that students should accept and learn from the consequences of their actions.

Basketball Coach and Assistant Athletic Director Brian Vecchio gave this final piece of advice: “Be smart. Be smart about who your friends are. Be smart about where you’re going what you’re doing and who you’re hanging out with.”