Community speaks out at Amphi School Board Meeting after 6 football players were kicked off the team for attending a party with alcohol present

KOLD News 10-10:30 p.m. recurring
Published: Oct. 25, 2022 at 10:02 PM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - Coaches, parents and athletes spoke out Tuesday, Oct. 25 at an Amphitheater School Board Meeting after six CDO football players were kicked off the team for attending a party where there was alcohol present.

The school was alerted after pictures and videos circulated on social media, and now many are saying those consequences are too harsh and the school is costing student athletes’ future dreams and possible scholarships.

“This policy is too devastating emotionally and does not add for flexibility,” said head football coach, Dustin Peace.

Family members hired a lawyer and were in court just last week over the whole situation. Ultimately, the judge ruled in favor of the school, because those athletes signed a 24/7 No Tolerance Policy at the beginning of the year.

Parents argued that their athlete had to sign that policy, or they weren’t allowed to play.

The big focus Tuesday evening was on just how strict that policy is and how the six students have suffered enough. Many argued that they deserved a second chance to play.

“Give these kids a chance to redeem themselves without destroying their future,” said attorney, Adam Rossi.

Dawn Caffall is related to one of the athletes who was punished. She said the school should use this opportunity as a teaching moment.

“The school has an opportunity to teach these children, not take away their education, not take away their future, not take away the dreams they’ve had since they were small people,” Caffall said.

Senior Wide Receiver, Zack Rogowski said the entire process has been an emotional rollercoaster.

“I almost felt depressed for about two weeks we were out. I was up here because we got to play again, and then 30 minutes before our team meal, I found out I can’t play the game. Our homecoming game actually,” Rogowski said.

For a lot of these football players, no senior football season could mean kissing their dreams of college ball goodbye. Countless parents said it could make scholarships and financial help out of reach.

Zack had four college offers before the video surfaced.

“I worked my butt off to get these offers and it feels like they all just got stripped away from me for one mistake that I made,” Rogowski said.

Zack’s mom, Shannon said it’s heart breaking, especially because he’s worked so hard. She said the policy needs to be changed.

“They’re claiming now even if you know alcohol is there, so I have beer in my fridge at home, he’s in violation of this policy,” Rogowski said. “I do want to point out it is discriminatory towards athletes. It does not pertain to anyone else in the school but athletes.”

Now all of the parents, coaches and athletes say they’re going to pray for some flexibility.

“I just hope that this school board comes to their senses and works with us. We’re not trying to fight them, underage drinking is wrong. The crime doesn’t fit this punishment,” Rogowski said.

Because this was not on the agenda at the public meeting, the school board could not comment.

Parents and coaches say they will continue to make public comments until it is on the agenda, regardless of the prior court ruling.

In a statement to KOLD News 13 they wrote:

“Federal privacy laws prohibit the District from commenting on personal student discipline matters.

Generally, whenever a student’s behavior impacts their ability to participate in school or school-related activities it is a difficult situation. Also, generally, the District has rules and policies in place for its athletes that prohibit the use of alcohol, tobacco and drugs around the clock during their sports season due to the special privileges and responsibilities which those athletes carry. Before participating in our athletic programs, all students and their parents sign an agreement that the student will comply with those rules. The District does enforce rules when violations occur to ensure that all students, staff, and our community can trust that the rules are meaningful and are applied fairly and equally.”