According to a recent article, several John Jay High School students were ejected for attacking a referee at the end of a football game. The football game ended as a lost for the school. John Jay High School officials should close their investigation regarding the student’s behavior.
According to the article, Texas HS football incident under investigation after players appear to attack official, two John Jay High School students are under investigation for allegedly attacking one of the referees. Several spectators at the game allege that it happened after multiple unsportsmanlike penalties were handed out earlier in the game which included the ejection of a player who threw a punch. The alleged attack on the official came with about a minute left on the clock. Both players were ejected from the game which should suffice for punishment. Otherwise, any additional penalties against the players would result in double jeopardy.
What is double jeopardy that could result in additional penalties for the John Jay High School players?
The Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution provides, “No person shall … be subject for the same offence [sic] to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb.” This provision, known as the Double Jeopardy Clause, prohibits state and federal governments from prosecuting individuals for the same crime on more than one occasion, or imposing more than one punishment for a single offense. Each of the 50 states offers similar protection through its own constitution, statutes, and Common Law.
Since this is an incident that does not interrupt the normal operation of the school, the students should not lose their constitutional rights. However, schools are major perpetrators against Black students in the area of over discipline which more than likely will result in double jeopardy for the John Jay High School students involved in the incident.
We know this to be true because of the school to prison pipeline. For example, even though Black children represent 18% of preschool enrollment, they represent 48% of preschool children receiving more than one out-of school suspension. Comparatively, White students represent 43% of preschool enrollment but only 26% of the preschool children who receive more than one out of school suspension. This pattern continues as Black students’ progress through school. Black students are suspended and expelled at a rate three times greater than White students. On average, White students have a 5% suspension rate while Black students have a 16% suspension rate. Additionally, Black students represent 16% of student enrollment and represent 27% of the students referred to law enforcement and 31% of the students who are subjected to school-related arrest. White student represent 51% of enrollment while 41% White of students are referred to law enforcement and 39% of those who are arrested.
What are the specific rules that apply to the John Jay High School students involved in the incident?
The first violation that officials must consider is unsportsmanlike conduct. Unsportsmanlike conduct is a foul that violates the sport’s generally accepted rules of sportsmanship and participant conduct. Examples include verbal abuse or taunting of an opponent, an excessive celebration following a scoring play, or feigning injury. In many sports such as football it is the catch-all rule that can cover behaviors for which many are more subjective rather than objective. As stated in the beginning of this article, both players were ejected from the game for unsportsmanlike conduct. This should be the end of the story.
However, there is an audience that believes that this was an assault. John Jay High School officials need to consider the nature of this referees position. He is the Back Judge. The Back Judge takes as position approximately 25 yards downfield. He is responsible for observing the tight end’s actions. He is also responsible for ruling on holdings or illegal use of hands by the end, back, or defensive infractions committed by players guarding those offensive players.
The Back Judge is normally is in the thick of it and there are many possibilities of this referee getting hurt. When the ball is snapped, the referee becomes part of the play and any contact that involves the referee is considered to be part of the play.
The Back Judge is significant in determining the outcome of the football game. However, it was reported that this referee made several derogatory racial remarks targeted at Blacks and Hispanics. If this holds to be true, then the referee created a hostile environment for Black and Hispanic students who participated in the football game.
Since this referee allegedly created a hostile environment, the referee need to suspended indefinitely without pay and the John Jay High School football players should be reinstated to the football team with no additional repercussions.
Dr. Derrick L. Campbell, Ed.D.
PO Box 1668 Blackwood, NJ 08012
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Author of Promoting Positive Racial Teacher Student Classroom Relationships and Promoting Positive Racial Teacher Student Classroom Relationships: Methodology
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