After a scandal rocked the Torrington High School Football team last year, student athletes will have new rules to follow off the field and on the internet.
The Torrington Board of Education has approved new guidelines for social media. The handbook, which contains a code of conduct for social media websites, will be given out to players on every sports team.
The change comes after Torrington High School got national attention when 4 football players were arrested and accused of sexual assault. The victims were ridiculed online for coming forward.
“Society generally holds athletes to a higher standard this sort of addresses that,” said Chairman Ken Traub.
Rules from the handbook state students can’t bully or haze anyone, taunt students from opposing schools or use offensive language. The first offense could get them suspended from the team for a few weeks. If it happened a second time, they would be kicked off the team for the season.
“I don't think they should be held to any different standard as any other student,” said Bill Battle.
His son planned to play football at Torrington High School in the fall, and he thought the district had gone too far by singling out a specific group of kids. “No we cannot just say athletes at all. I think its unfortunate and unfair,” Battle explained.
The school district might consider a new policy to deal with student athletes who get in trouble off campus. Students could be kicked off the team for good if they’re charged with a crime. That policy is just an idea, and the district planned to discuss it further during the next few months.
The idea isn’t sitting well with some parents. “You’re going to tell me if a student on the chess club does something he will have a different outcome from a kid on a football team?” questioned Bill Battle.
The social media policy will apply to student athletes when school starts next week.