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(Springfield, MA) At an emergency meeting Tuesday night, the Board of Trustees of the Western Massachusetts CYO discussed and decided upon specific immediate actions to take relative to the incident that occurred at a CYO Championship game on March 9th when a league coach was attacked. Western Massachusetts CYO Board of Trustees Statement: “Though Friday’s incident was the act of a member of the public not associated or affiliated with WMass CYO, we take it upon ourselves to devise new ways to address this kind of incident. We are taking some steps that break new ground for organizations like ours. We hope this will help maintain the long record of safety and sanctuary that these games have meant for children, parents, coaches and fans for decades here in WMass. We have been working hard on this issue since it occurred. Board members have been in constant contact, working in advance of last night’s meeting to devise and review specific steps we can take to further enforce and strengthen our Code of Conduct, including extending that code beyond our officials and players to parents. We have consulted other leagues, looking as far away as Florida, for how other organizations have addressed these issues. We also have consulted state legislators like State Representative Angelo Puppolo, to learn more about pending legislation he has sponsored to protect athletic officials.” Last night the Board decided on these initial actions: Expansion of League Code of Conduct to Parents Extending the same Code of Conduct that we enforce for League coaches, assistant coaches, players and other officials to parents of players. We will ask parents of players to sign a pledge when registering their children to play that they will honor that Code. We realize this is not a legally binding agreement, but we believe that this will heighten awareness of how parents are to act during their children’s games. We believe it will encourage parents to become even more invested in the maintenance of their own and fellow parent’s behavior. Any parent who violates the Conduct Code, whether they sign the pledge or not, will be barred from league games. We will not prohibit their children from participating, but parents will not be allowed to attend any League practices or games.
We will, when appropriate, post on-line and inform League officials and local authorities of the decision to prohibit such parents from all league events. New Website Will Include Code, CORI information for Officials, Parental Pledge and New Registration Form for Players A new website is being created which will state clearly the Code of Conduct for officials, players and parents. New, on-line registration of players will include their pledge to honor the Code. Information stating exactly who the League Coaches and Assistant Coaches are as well as the League officials (referees) are will be posted. The Web-site will also list parents, players or fans who are prohibited from attending games. League Bench Decorum and Policy Each coach will be responsible for his or her bench decorum. One coach and one assistant coach only will be permitted on the bench. An official scorer will be allowed to sit at the official table. If there is no table, that recognized and agreedto scorer will be permitted to sit on the bench. All players who sit on the bench will be in uniform. WMass CYO endorses the principle of pending legislation, House Bill 2856; “An Act relative to Attacks on Sports Officials” The board has consulted with State Representative Angelo Puppolo about legislation he has sponsored that would strengthen the punishment for attacks on sports officials in the Commonwealth. We support the concept and principle of H.B. 2856 and await to see its final form before endorsing the actual legislation. We understand that this bill will be amended as it progresses we hope to contribute to its development and progress to final form and passage.
Reinforcing and redistributing our existing Code of Conduct to every League official.