Students will miss first four games of the season and three days of school

Photo Credit: REVIEW FILE PHOTO - Heach Coach Steve Coury has disciplined 10 players for allegedly smoking marjiuana at a recent retreat.Ten Lake Oswego High School football players will miss the first four games of the season after being suspended for violating the district's student code of conduct during a recent weekend retreat.

Principal Cindy Schubert would not comment Monday on the nature of the incident or on the disciplinary measures taken. But the parent of one player has alleged that the violation involved the use of marijuana during a late-night gathering around a campfire at the team's annual retreat, which was held Aug. 15-17 at Camp Arrah Wanna in Welches.

“These are students in our school, and they have a right to their privacy,” Schubert said. “Anytime someone gets in trouble, we don’t broadcast it to the media. We had an incident where we had students violating student conduct rules, so we dealt with it.”

The seniors’ retreat has been held annually for the past 15 years, according to head football coach Steve Coury. Students take a rafting trip and swing through a ropes course. "We do some goal-setting and team-building," Coury said Monday.

Coury said the camp is held in a large, confined area of the resort. The violation of the conduct code happened late at night, he said, when players had free time and coaches had gone to bed.

The unidentified players, including nine probable starters, will be punished not only on the field but with a three-day, in-school suspension when classes start next week, officials said.

"We followed district guidelines and added community-service requirements (to the punishment) that I think will be an eye-opening experience," Coury said.

Almost 30 players and about a dozen coaches, including Coury, attended the retreat, but Schubert said the coaches did not violate any policy and would not be disciplined in any way.

When the coaches learned of the incident, they acted swiftly, Coury said, addressing it the following morning by asking those involved to stand up and take responsibility.

"There's no question in my mind that everyone who was involved owned up to it, and I'm proud of that," Coury said. "These kids made a judgment error and they've been great at being held accountable for that. We built the program on doing the right thing and being leaders and not followers. This was a poor decision, but I think it could be a positive experience and a great opportunity to learn."

Schubert said there are no plans for an assembly to discuss the incident after school opens next week.

“I think this is just getting more press because it was 10 football players and a school activity,” she said. “I think what we can do as a school is be consistent and supportive of the students as they work through these things. This is an unfortunate incident, but it’s not something we’re going to take school time to discuss further.”

Lake Oswego opens its football season Sept. 5 against Southridge. The suspended players also will miss a nonleague game against South Medford and Three Rivers League games against West Linn and Tualatin.

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