Andrew was an 18-year-old senior and was co-captain of the East Greene football team, was a member of the basketball team, class vice-president and honor roll student. Sometime during the evening of September 20, 2003, Andrew violated the District's good conduct policy by illegally consuming alcohol. Because his breath sample did not register, he was not issued a citation for either possession of alcohol or underage drinking. At the following Monday's practice, Andrew denied that he had been drinking when asked by the coach. After practice, however, Andrew admitted to drinking to his parents and drove to the coach's residence where he confessed. This was Andrew's first offense.
The uncontroverted evidence was that the local board and the superintendent were aware of the co-coaches' team rules.The coaches were told that the rules were acceptable as long as they did not impose less severe punishment than the Board-adopted good conduct policy. The football team rules could not employ a punishment that would impact any activity other than football.
The bulk if the team rules dealt with conduct. Any player who consumed alcohol during the season would be ineligible to compete for the rest of the football season. The Board-adopted policy specified the penalty would be ineligibility for two games; however, self-reporting would reduce the penalty by one-half. The reduction appeared by language of the policy to be mandatory. The team rules were not written down. As a matter of fundamental fairness, a student must be able to rely upon the written and duly-enacted policies of the governing body of their public school district. A board of education cannot lawfully delegate to others, whether to one or more of its members, or to any school office, the exercise of any discretionary power.
The legislative body of Iowa has, as a matter of state policy, recognized the need for a centralized authority regarding the most serious matters of student discipline and has placed that authority with local boards of education. The actions of individual coaches cannot be allowed to override local board policies.
That the decision of the Board of Directors of the East Greene Community School District, made on October 21, 2003, be reversed.