When Parkview’s nationally-celebrated baseball program was implicated in a disturbing and traditional hazing case in June, some hoped that the school would avoid the dint of negative affiliation because the program the players were representing is not officially affiliated with the school. That’s not going to happen now, after six members of the Parkview program were suspended for either a semester or year because of their connection with the incident.
As reported by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the judgment against the Parkview players was handed down Monday afternoon, with five of the six players to be suspended immediately announcing that they would file suit against Gwinnett County Public Schools in an attempt to prove that the actions in an unaffiliated summer league should not be allowed to impact the students’ participation during the actual school year.
The lawyers in the case may have a point, too. The hazing occurred during a travel trip by the Panthers Summer Baseball Team, a squad comprised largely of Parkview players with Parkview coaches, but without an official, recognized connection to the school. That lack of a connection has led lawyers to site the need for operational independence for the Panthers Summer League team, which would leave officials from the program with sole discretion over potential penalties.
“It is common and routine practice throughout the United States for voluntary private baseball teams organized in or near a particular school district to adopt the team mascot and colors of a local high school even when absolutely no actual sponsorship or affiliation exists,” a petition filed by the lawyers sets forth.
There is a catch to the Parkview players’ lawyers logic, however: the Gwinnett school district’s student code of conduct makes it pretty clear that the students were still to be held accountable as if they were on school campus when they were traveling with the Panthers Summer Baseball Team.
“This was a school-related function … it was a Parkview High School summer baseball program and all of the students were Parkview High School students at the time,” Gwinnett schools spokeswoman Sloan Roach told the Journal-Constitution.
The key phrase in that prior sentence is “at the time.” For the athletes who haven’t already transferred, it’s pretty clear that they’ll be missing some time before setting foot back on Parkview soil again, assuming they try to remain in the fold.