While COVID-19 continues on, with the hope of a return to some form of normalcy sometime later this year, the need to deal with the fallout from the decreased socialization and the unknown impacts on our youth continue.
Whether the increase in unruly behavior by certain island youth is related to COVID or not, the fact remains that there has been a noticeable increase in bad behavior, ranging from cursing out peers and elders to disrupting sports practices and games to physical confrontations and other highly inappropriate activity (such as throwing lit firecrackers at sports coaches).
The Village Athletic Advisory Board, which oversees all of the sports on the island, in conjunction with the Village Police Department, the mayor, the Village Council and the Village Athletic Department have thrown their hat in the ring to try to assist in curbing such behavior. That said, we have agreed to institute the following plan to try to do our part.
Going forward, should it be determined that any of those involved in behavior that is unacceptable involve children participating in Key Biscayne sports, they will be referred to the Disciplinary Committee for consideration and action.
The Disciplinary Committee has been in place for many years to insure appropriate behavior in our sports, both by the participants, coaches and parents. Upon such activity being referred, a fact finding investigation will take place which will be followed by an in person hearing before the committee. Penalties available to the committee are unlimited and include warnings, suspensions or expulsion from our programs as necessary and appropriate.
We feel very strongly that those who represent Key Biscayne should not participate in or encourage inappropriate behavior. We are hopeful that if certain youth who may consider participating in such activity understand that there are consequences that may lead to the forfeit of their right to participate in sports, for a short or long period of time, they will decline to engage in such activity. At the same time, we have received a commitment from our police department to be more vigilant and proactive to deal with such activity within the confines of their authority.
In order to be effective in these efforts, we are undertaking the following.
- First, all sport program leaders have been notified and have agreed to cooperate with these efforts.
- Second, all coaches will be instructed about the above policy and will be letting all of the players on all of their teams know what the implications will be for such behavior and that there will be no tolerance for this.
- Third, all those in authority in all of our programs will be instructed to take pictures of any and all children who are participating in such activities if they see it happen and will be passing on the pictures to the Village Athletic Staff in order to identify the individuals.
If identified, and it’s determined they are participants in our sports programs, the disciplinary committee will take over, as discussed above. If it is determined that they are not involved in our program, the matter will be referred to the police for appropriate action, if any.
Lastly, and as a reminder, the above is contained within the parameters of the Code of Conduct that is included in every registration form executed by every child and parent of the children who participate in our sports every time they register for a new sport or new season. Because the behavior has become more acute (though it is not necessarily the children in our programs causing the problems) we will address these issues as best we can for those who accept the privilege to participate in our sports.
We are hopeful that the Island parents will support our efforts and remember that our youth sports programs are to enhance confidence, socialization, growth, sportsmanship and fun and it is all about the children.
Thank you all for your anticipated support. If anyone wished to further discuss the enclosed or any issues regarding our programs you are encouraged to reach out to me or any of my fellow Board Members at your convenience. My email is email@example.com
Waldman is the chairman of the Village Athletic Advisory Board and has been involved in Key Biscayne sports for 20 years.