Parents Concerned Over 'Excessive Punishment' in Crisfield - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Parents Concerned Over 'Excessive Punishment' in Crisfield

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CRISFIELD, Md.– Parents of some varsity basketball players at Crisfield High School are upset over what they are calling “excessive punishment” recently implemented by the school principal.

According to parents of a couple of players, a handful of team members were allegedly caught on surveillance video stealing Gatorade and chips from the concession area after a recent practice.

Tomika Williams' 17-year-old son is on the team. He is a part of the group accused.

"They're sorry,” Williams said. “They even suggested to us, to maybe do some community service, or help out around the school.”

But, Williams and a few other parents say that is not what the players got, and the punishment does not fit the “crime.”

Parents tell WBOC the players involved were suspended from school for three days, in addition to one day in detention. A 15-day restriction from after school activities is being carried out. Parents said the rest of the season, which ends soon, is in question for the players. The junior varsity team has been promoted in the meantime, according to parents.

"They've had enough punishment,” Williams said. “They've been drug through the mud; their names, and a three-day suspension.”

Officials with the county's public school system will not confirm the type of violations or consequences in the matter, but Leo Lawson, a spokesperson for the public school system, issued a statement:

In the statement, Lawson said, "A number of students violated the county/state discipline code. The administration investigated and took what was deemed to be appropriate action as stipulated by the Code of Discipline.” 

"Parents were asked to make appointments with the superintendent to express their concerns," Lawson continued. "Superintendent of Schools Dr. John Gaddis will meet with parents this week in an expeditious manner. Meetings are and will be scheduled."

Members of the community are standing behind the parents and their appeal to Gaddis.

“I thought the punishment was just too harsh,” said Jay Sterling, who attends every game. “We've had situations where other athletic teams within that school have had disciplinary action taken [and] we didn't even know about it outside of the school."

Sterling said there is one game left when the punishment is over, and the players will not get to play because they cannot practice.

"All of the parents made it perfectly known that they don't agree with the behavior of their kids and they don't condone it," said the Rev. Charles Bagley, president of Somerset County's NAACP chapter and advocate parents.

A community meeting will be Tuesday night at the Community Center in Crisfield. Parents and their supporters are meeting the superintendent Wednesday, in hopes of getting the 15-day restriction overturned.

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