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South Whidbey School Board reviews policies

The South Whidbey school board, superintendent and principals recently discussed a handful of revisions and a couple of new policies. The South Whidbey School District will soon have policies that govern student sports injury protocol, specifically for head injuries and concussions, as well as an update to the reasonable force policy.

South Whidbey High School Athletic Director Scott Mauk tailored the sports injury policy to give him more authority to enforce the rules that govern when a player may return to competition after suffering a head injury.

“What I like about it, quite frankly, is it gives me a bit of a stick if I get any push back, which I don’t foresee,” Mauk said.

In addition to the enforcement, the policy requires training for coaches and an information sheet to be sent to parents about concussions. A student may only return after receiving an evaluation from a licensed health provider trained in head injuries. Board member Damian Greene, the district’s Washington Interscholastic Activities Association representative, questioned the policy’s thoroughness for checking the supposed health provider’s credentials.

“We want to protect ourselves,” Greene said.

Protection was paramount to the reasonable force policy. South Whidbey High School Principal John Patton said the impetus for the policy has been to keep students from harming others, property or themselves. In his 12 years at the high school in Langley, Patton said he has yet to use reasonable force on students fighting, though he has used it to guide some special education students outside so they can’t harm other students.

“You’re protecting a student from harming himself, other students, staff or property,” said District Superintendent Jo Moccia. “Anything else is punishment.”

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