Oyster River School District Implements New Athletic Initiatives

Oyster River Cooperative School District
SAU No. 5
Superintendent James Morse
36 Coe Drive
Durham, NH 03824

For Immediate Release

Friday, May 4, 2018

Media Contact: John Guilfoil
Phone: 617-993-0003
Email: [email protected]

Oyster River School District Implements New Athletic Initiatives

DURHAM — Oyster River School District Director of Athletics Andy Lathrop is pleased to announce that the athletic department has begun to implement new initiatives through the New Hampshire Interscholastic Athletic Association Life of an Athlete Program.

The first initiative is instituting a Student Athlete Leadership Team made up of athletic leaders from various teams and grades. This committee is meant to affect change in their school’s athletic program by empowering students to take ownership of their athletic experience.

Since the group formed in the fall, the committee has been instrumental in bringing school spirit to sports games by selling “Super Fan” t-shirts and modeling appropriate fan behavior and sportsmanship at games.

The second initiative, also driven by the Life of an Athlete program, is creating a restorative practice for athletic rules and expectations that is meant to shift the focus when a rule is broken and improve school culture by empowering those involved in an incident.

Often times, when there is a disciplinary situation, the focus is on punishment. When restorative justice is integrated into a school’s policy, the focus shifts from punishment to working with the offender to repair the harm created by the violation.

“The primary goal of the restorative justice practice is not to replace the school’s policy, but to supplement it,” Lathrop said. “This doesn’t mean that there are no consequences for violations or unlimited chances, but rather to have the violator take an active role in repairing any damage that may have been caused.”

Consequences are tiered by the number of violations the student athlete has committed over the course of their athletic career. Depending on the level of the violation, this could involve game suspensions, or a meeting with coaches, administrators and peers to verbalize how the athlete’s action affected others. This situation gives all involved parties the chance to be heard.

“We have already had a tremendous amount of support and participation by student athletes with these initiatives,” Lathrop said. “Our department is eager to make them a lasting part of the athletic culture here at Oyster River.”

Lathrop hopes to have these initiatives outlined in the Student/Parent Athletic Handbook this summer to make them a permanent part of the school district’s athletic policies.

For more information on the Life of an Athlete Program or restorative justice, visit the NHIAA website by clicking here.

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