If you get lit, will you be forced to quit?


This is the form addressing drug and alcohol use that is part of the athletic clearance packet given to all VHS athletes. Infographic from: VUSD

What is Ventura High School’s policy when it comes to the relationship drinking and sports? With the recent incident that took place, it’s a serious question to ask that many may not know the answer to.

The only overlying policy that VHS has is the one adopted by the district, where all student athletes must sign a code of conduct as part of the athletic clearance packet that states that students may be subject to discipline if they violate a rule outlined in the code of conduct.

However, this code of conduct does not specify what that discipline is.

Why, you may ask? As athletic director David Hess puts it, “[VHS] has resisted making one policy for everyone.”

Hess added, “In a lot of ways, it would be easier if there were just one policy for everybody, but a lot of times, things happen and it doesn’t always work.”

However, Hess stated that he is not a believer in a “no-tolerance policy,” or “this is what we’re all going to do,” method because every situation is different, and needs to be addressed accordingly.

Therefore, it’s up to the coach to decide their athletic policies for their student athletes. Some coaches, such as dance and hip-hop coach Samantha Hazan, have a very strict, no tolerance policy.

“This policy was put into place approximately five years ago when I had some dancers attend a school dance intoxicated. I realized I needed to have a policy in place to support my decisions regarding their consequences and to set clear expectations at the beginning of the year to hopefully discourage students from making those poor choices,” Hazan said.

“Most of our coaches are on the side of if you did that, we don’t want you here and you’re gone, type thing,” Hess said. “The problem with that is how do you know what happened?” he added.

However for boys baseball, the sports policy is quite different than Hazan’s team policy.

Baseball coach, Sam Triana, has put in place a point system for his team. “The points go towards if you’re disrespectful to a parent, coach, umpire or an other player, than that’s two points. Any form of substance abuse is an automatic 10 points and if you collect 10 points in a week, you’re suspended for a game,” Triana described.

“If you’re caught [abusing substances] again, then you’re automatically kicked off the team. I don’t believe in life sentence punishment the first time,” he concluded.

And as for boys volleyball, coach Gary Knowles added that “There really is not a policy in place,” other than abiding by CIF rules.

This is the form addressing drug and alcohol use that is part of the athletic clearance packet given to all VHS athletes.
Infographic from: VUSD

Therefore it’s been Knowles policy that if an athlete is

suspended for

violating any school policy, they are suspended from participating in matches or practices for as long as the suspension exists.

What Hazan, Knowles and Triana all have in common though, is that they all replied that they were never explicitly told to create a policy for their team.

So although VHS’s policy is to leave it up to the coaches to decide for their team, many coaches seem to not be entirely informed of this. As for Hazan and Triana they create policies because they felt inclined to do so, not because they were advised to by anyone in particular.

As Knowles stated, “I was never instructed by administrators to develop a policy and I never felt compelled to do so… but [I] will re-think this fact and consider a policy for moving forward.”