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Richmond County amends athletic security policy

Wednesday, Oct. 19, 2011 10:54 AM
Last updated Thursday, Oct. 20, 2011 5:06 AM
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In response to Friday night’s skirmish between Hancock Central and Warren County, the Richmond County Board of Education amended its own post-game policy this week.


Wayne Staats
High School Reporter
Twitter: @WStaats8
E-mail | 706-823-3425

Starting with tonight’s junior varsity football games and continuing with Friday’s varsity action, two public safety officers will be on the field during the traditional handshake at all contests in Richmond County. Then, each officer will follow each team to its respective locker room.

These two procedures were added to a four-pronged policy which already included the following: players must leave their helmets on during the handshake, coaches must position themselves at the front and end of the lines, cheerleaders are not allowed in the handshake line and the stadium custodians must ensure all locker rooms are open.

“When things like this happen, you look at your policy and see what you can do to prevent something like this from happening,” Richmond County athletics director George Bailey said. “You realize there’s always a possibility.”

That possibility occurred when Warren County head football coach David Daniel was struck in the head with a helmet by a Hancock Central player following his team’s 21-2 win in Sparta, Ga. Still healing at home — and watching game film — Daniel issued a statement about Friday night’s attack.

“To the Warren County family, the support and concern for me and my family has been overwhelming. It is my hope that you will continue to help our football team to focus on being competitive with our upcoming football game. Additionally, with everyone’s support, our team will continue their hard work ethic along with exhibiting good sportsmanship. Go Warren County, and let’s have a great homecoming.”

Warren County Schools Superintendent Carole Jean Carey said she received the statement Tuesday night from her husband, Dewey, who took over game film to Daniel.

Attempts to talk with Hancock Central head football coach Zackery Harris and Gwendolyn Jefferson Reeves, the Hancock County superintendent, have been unsuccessful.

Carey also said a letter on behalf of the Warren County Board of Education, the mayor, state Sen. Bill Jackson and herself would be sent no later than Thursday to officials who can ask the Georgia Bureau of Investigation to step in, including the Superior Court judge with jurisdiction. Carey said they’re getting copies of all statements from team members and coaches.

Ralph Swearngin, the executive director of the Georgia High School Association, said the GHSA has received at least preliminary reports from both Warren County and Hancock Central, but he said he’s asked for additional information. Swearngin also said the GHSA has been in contact with the Hancock County Sheriff's Department, and he wants a police report.

As for any potential changes to security guidelines, Swearngin said any specific numerical expectations for security would have to come from the GHSA Executive Committee.

With different school sizes and attendance levels at sporting events, it’s difficult to write a precise guideline for everybody, he said. However, he said local school boards have their own policies, even regarding the number of security people assigned to a game. In Richmond County, anywhere from eight to 20 security officers staff a game based on projected crowd size.

“My guess, about any situation, is the problem is not with the standards,” Swearngin said. “It would be with the failure to complete those standards.”

Comments (18) Add comment
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Bobby Hill
0
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Bobby Hill 10/19/11 - 12:12 pm
0
0
What happened to zero
Unpublished

What happened to zero tolerance?? Someone should be behind bars right now awaiting bond/trial!!!!

GodisSoGood
1335
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GodisSoGood 10/19/11 - 12:30 pm
0
0
take sportsmanship out of the

take sportsmanship out of the equation.....what do you have? a crime! This thug needs to be prosecuted!

ispy4u
0
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ispy4u 10/19/11 - 01:16 pm
0
0
Someone on that team has

Someone on that team has knowledge of who this person is. Until he is turned over to police, that school should not be allowed to participate in any sport.

david jennings
625
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david jennings 10/19/11 - 01:21 pm
0
0
Young people/students

Young people/students assaulting police officers, teachers, coaches shows the lack of respect for authority that seems to be on the increase these last few years. In most cases I believe it is due to the break down of the family setting (Mom AND Dad). This incident should be taken very seriously and I hope it will. This kid probably thinks there are no conseqences for his actions and if so, it is no surprise given the apparent attitude of the authorities in Hancock Co.

The Godfather
80
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The Godfather 10/19/11 - 01:53 pm
0
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Has there been any statement

Has there been any statement by Hancock Central,the Sheriffs department or the prinicipal from Hancock about this incident?

sevets2000
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sevets2000 10/19/11 - 01:54 pm
0
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I hope the Warren County

I hope the Warren County School people will keep up the pressure for the State to investigate this; it will not be done if it is left up to the folks in Hancock County. This is, unfortunately, another black mark for Hancock County and I am saddened by it. I was born and reared in Hancock County and my family is still there. Over the years, I have witnessed the steady decline of Sparta and Hancock County. This incident seems to fit the pattern, but there is one major difference: the people in Warren County can do something about this one; someone will have to be accountable this time. No longer will the excuse of Hancock being the poorest county in Georgia work. This is not about per capita income or race; it's about a culture that accepts this kind of behavior. My daughter attended Whitewater High School in Fayette County. If a similar incident occurred at that school, I can tell you that the Head Coach would have found out who the offending party was and would have reported it directly to the police authorties and to the GHSA. What will Hancock do?

Sweet son
13673
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Sweet son 10/19/11 - 02:09 pm
0
0
Isn't Hancock's coach a

Isn't Hancock's coach a former Warren County coach? Might want to see if the antimosity came down from the top. Seems like a logical conjecture. Correct me if I am wrong please!!

kiwiinamerica
1062
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kiwiinamerica 10/19/11 - 04:07 pm
0
0
What a fiasco. This incident
Unpublished

What a fiasco. This incident happened in plain sight last Friday before multiple witnesses. It's now Wednesday and we're still in limbo, with no apparent action from either the Hancock County Sheriff's Department, or the High School. I'll cut the Sheriff's Department a little slack on this one and assume they're still interviewing witnesses. However, the lack of any statement or action from the High School and its Principal is inexcusable.

As far as I'm aware there has been no statement of regret, no apology nor indeed anything of any substance coming from the high school. Just a big silence. That is completely unacceptable. Whenever an incident as serious as this occurs on school property, the school MUST say something, even if it is simply to acknowledge that an incident occurred, that it deeply regrets the injuries sustained by the coach of the opposing team and that it will cooperate fully with any investigation. I've heard nothing.

One is left with the inescapable conclusion that the high school is not being pro-active in any way as regards getting to the bottom of this matter. IMHO, that alone should be enough to get Hancock suspended indefinitely from GHSA athletic events right now and if the present situation continues it should result in pink slips for the Principal, Athletic Director and Coach of the football team.

I won't hold my breath.

GGpap
528
Points
GGpap 10/19/11 - 05:21 pm
0
0
"Two public safety officers

"Two public safety officers will be on the field during the traditional handshake at all contests in Richmond County. Then, each officer will follow each team to its respective locker room."

These stipulations were "added to a four-pronged policy which already included the following: players must leave their helmets on during the handshake, coaches must position themselves at the front and end of the lines, cheerleaders are not allowed in the handshake line and the stadium custodians must ensure all locker rooms are open."

Sounds like public school athletics have reached a plateau that would rival the ancient Roman "games" (often that led to the death of one or more of the opponents) that were common in the Coliseum of Ancient Rome.

It is time to discontinue all "obviously" violent "sports" in all public schools in America.

Administrators, coaches, parents and supporters continue to tout the benefits (the development of "sportsmanship and "teamwork") that come from kids engaging in athletics. Really? And, of course there are also the claims that kids often stay in school because of athletic activities; therefore, the reasoning is that athletics are responsible for insuring that marginal students will eventually graduate. Really? My question would be: What worth are these violent "sportsmen" that, in fact, have no business mixing with other students in our public schools who are actually dedicated to succeeding by means of bettering themselves through education?

Thuggery, bullying and violent sports do not belong in public education. It is time to begin the process of eradicating the problems before it is too late to actually save our schools before the problem has become totally irreversible.

GGpap

alumna
10
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alumna 10/19/11 - 06:37 pm
0
0
I applaude the Richmond

I applaude the Richmond County Board of Education for taking leadership in this matter and amending its own policy to prevent such thuggish behavior within in its system. There's no excuse for Hancock County not stepping forward with an apology and an explanation. It's simply the right thing to do.

Craig Spinks
819
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Craig Spinks 10/19/11 - 09:13 pm
0
0
Mr. Swearingen didn't fall

Mr. Swearingen didn't fall off the last cabbage truck which rolled into town a few minutes ago.

Implement written policies. Write strong policies. Hire numerous, strong school resource officers and sheriff's deputies to police extracurricular events AND SCHOOLS.

Security ain't cheap. But I've got an idea, Mr. Bailey. Take $100K of the $600K going to Pete and Larry. Use that as a starter on your security upgrade.

Vito45
-2
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Vito45 10/19/11 - 09:26 pm
0
0
Craig, that is treating the

Craig, that is treating the symptoms. When are we, as a nation, going to get the nads to openly and honestly discuss the roots of the disease?

Asitisinaug
4
Points
Asitisinaug 10/20/11 - 12:19 am
0
0
GGap, it takes 2 armed police

GGap, it takes 2 armed police officers to keep the peace in high schools during the day in a controlled learning environment - should we just close the schools?

There are often thousands of patrons and hundreds of participants (players, managers, cheerleaders, band members, etc.) doing what the love, learning sportsmanship, etc. with NO acts of violence on a normal basis. This goes on all year with various sports which not only provides for learning sportsmanship, teamwork, hand & eye coordination, rules, and physical fitness. Additionally, many students only have sports to look forward to and with the rules in place for passing classes, etc. this also helps them place more emphasis on their studies.

ANY event that has almost 100 opposing team members, a few hundred participants and often times more than a couple of thousand spectators certainly needs a strong law enforcement presence with a plan for emergencies, crowd control, etc. to include scenarios such as fights, power outages, spectators entering the field area, etc.

A ratio of 1 campus police officer or deputy to approximately every 100 participants should be in place. Plans to escort the officials/referees to their vehicles should be included, patrons from opposing teams should enter / exit at different entry points and remain on their side of the stadium or gym during games and should NEVER be permitted to enter the field or gym floor even after an event. Coaches, teachers and administrators should be on hand to assist in the student sections of their respective schools in a pro-active approach to ensure incidents do not occur. Furthermore, students need to be spoken to at school events such as pep rallies to know that strict punishments will be handed down for misbehavior. Lastly, coaches must take the time to talk with their players often about sportsmanship, good grades, etc. and REALLY mean what they say and practice what they preach, not just give a speech. They also should instruct their players in advance that should an incident occur, under no circumstances are they to leave the bench and engage in a fight in any way, shape or form and that ANYONE who does will be suspended just as if it occurred during the school day. Coaches could do so much more to prevent these incidents from becoming bad if they would just spend more time up front making their expectations very clear and by displaying proper sportsmanship their selves. The RCBOE updating their procedures is a very good and pro-active approach.

Getting rid of sports is a ridiculous overkill answer. However, getting rid of coaches who fail to act appropriately and work with their students to ensure good grades, sportsmanship and attitude is very much appropriate. The coaches who cuss at their students and the referees or who act disorderly should all be terminated and every school knows who they are (and yes, this includes those who win games). Likewise, students who continually display unsportsmanlike conduct such as fighting, spitting on someone, etc. should also be removed from teams no matter how good they are athletically.

Hold individuals accountable vs. punishing all for the actions of a few -- we aren’t a socialist/communist country quite yet.

And, Craig is right.. What we as tax payers pay for the terrible advice from Pete Fletcher is absolutely absurd. They cost us far more than what they are worth and following their advice even costs us more.

Craig Spinks
819
Points
Craig Spinks 10/20/11 - 02:13 am
0
0
Vito45, You're right. Let's

Vito45,

You're right. Let's start such a discussion here now. What do you consider to be the roots of criminality of this sort?

I'd start with parental, particularly paternal, irresponsibility. When parents model a lack of caring for their offspring, the offspring frequently learn not to care about themselves or anybody else. When 40% of the children born in Georgia are born bastards and are denied the relative stability and nurturance of a present father, should we be surprised when the procreators, particularly the males, of these out-of-wedlock children and these children themselves behave ferally?

Radwaste
507
Points
Radwaste 10/20/11 - 05:39 am
0
0
Drive through Sparta

Drive through Sparta sometime. I think you'll see a general lack of pride reflected in the condition of their town. I know I was saddened to see that some time ago. I found it as if some great evil force had crippled their ability to see what they could have, if only they worked at it.

mjoe5
4
Points
mjoe5 10/20/11 - 08:00 am
0
0
It's about time the Chronicle

It's about time the Chronicle keeps us updated! Usually we hear about this one time then it's history. I applaud Richmond County for being proactive! Hopefully, the heat will continue to be on Hitchcock Co. till they show a little compassion. They have been extremely quiet. Have they even shown any or taken any responsibility??

retired.teacher
0
Points
retired.teacher 10/20/11 - 09:17 am
0
0
GGPap - Right on target!

GGPap - Right on target!

allhans
25529
Points
allhans 10/20/11 - 09:41 am
0
0
If Richmond County is

If Richmond County is amending its policy where will it end? What is happening to our world?
Theft, drugs, shootings... and now high school sports events.
May the Lord help us.

Asitisinaug
4
Points
Asitisinaug 10/22/11 - 05:01 pm
0
0
For those who stated the

For those who stated the other day that all HS sports were bad, didn't teach anything positive and should end at once:

Team won’t line up for extra point in tribute to teammate
By Cameron Smith 10/21

Point after touchdown attempts tend to be the forgotten children of football games. Occasionally a missed point will be the difference in a tight game, or a blocked kick might even lead to a two-point return, but for the most part, extra points are an afterthought.

Perhaps that's what made the tribute turned in by the Kamas (Utah) South Summit High Wildcats during their 33-0 victory against Moab (Utah) Grand County High so touching. According to the Salt Lake Tribune, with the score at 26-0, the Wildcats refused to line up for the point-after attempt, instead pointing to the scoreboard.

They had scored 26 points, the number of recently paralyzed teammate Porter Hancock, who remains hospitalized following his injury on Oct. 7 during South Summit's 40-15 victory against Castle Dale (Utah) Emery High.

"I didn't know what we were even doing at first, but then I knew as soon as I looked," South Summit quarterback Matt Rydalch told the Tribune. "It's funny how that number keeps popping up -- last week we won by 26. It reminds us that we're staying strong for Porter."
While the game was a relatively one-sided affair, that was hardly the focus of the day. Instead, the attention was all focused on Hancock, who lay in a hospital bed miles away. Practically everyone on the Wildcats sideline had the number 26 written somewhere on their body or uniform. Proceeds from a silent auction and all other concessions at the game were donated to a fund which has been set up to help defray the cost of Hancock's medical bills.

And even though they were the overmatched opponent, Grand High donated $1,000 to the injured player's cause. South Summit's Thursday opponent was hardly alone among Utah schools stepping forward. Fittingly, across the state Heber City (Utah) Wasatch High and Park City (Utah) High were collecting funds at a game where formerly paralyzed football player Dale Lawrence stood up for the first time in public .

In all, it's believed that more than $60,000 has already been raised for Hancock in less than two weeks since his injury.

The focus at South Summit may shift slightly back toward the field as the playoffs roll on, but it's unlikely that Hancock will ever be far from the action in spirit -- as fate proved on the scoreboard on Thursday.

"I think everybody was a little anxious and wanted to do well," South Summit football coach Jerry Parker told the Tribune of his team's one-sided win on Thursday. "We lost our rhythm in the second quarter, but we did a good job stopping them and getting back on track."

BubbaOne
4
Points
BubbaOne 11/01/11 - 09:14 am
0
0
I anxiously await the results

I anxiously await the results of the GBI investigation regarding this incident. I believe the Hancock County Police Department and the local school Superindent Gwendolyn Reeves handled this situation poorly. No concern was voiced by Superiendent Reeves regarding how sorry she was that this violent incident occured and no statement was made that she would get to the bottom of this and that the guilty parties would be punished.

I certainly would like to see the guilty player(s) receive jail time, for the Hancock County football team to forfeit all remaining games and for new security measures be implemented immediately. I have to add that this incident demonstates what is taught or not taught by the football coaches regarding how players conduct themselves. Changes obviously need to be made.

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