ALTON, IL - The Alton School District has decided not to expel any of the basketball players involved during a fight that broke out during a game against Riverview Gardens last Friday. The announcement was made during a special school board meeting at Alton High School Wednesday.
Superintendent Mark Cappel read a statement indicating the board viewed the incident as isolated and was not a reflection of the true character of the district’s athletes. Players and their parents in attendance reacted with hugs and smiles. Lisa Taylor is a parent of one of the players.
“It’s been very tough because they can’t practice they don’t know what’s going on with their season if they’re going to have any more games, so they’re stressed out,” she said. “We’re stressed out. We’re just ready to get over this hump and move on.”
The announcement included news practices will resume Thursday and games will resume as normal following a scheduled game on Friday that was canceled.
The Riverview Gardens School District confirms none of its students will be expelled because of Friday’s fight. District spokesman Anthony Kiekow released the following statement Wednesday evening.
“After a thorough investigation, Riverview Gardens School District has taken decisive actions to address the unfortunate incident involving our basketball team. Those actions include, but are not limited to, forfeiting three games and declining invitations to the team’s remaining regular season tournaments. Additionally, the team will participate in a sportsmanship clinic and community service project. This incident was not representative of the true character of our team. Our players look forward to proving that when they return to the court December 19.”
The statement from the Alton Board of Education reads as follows:
“We have thoroughly investigated the incident that occurred at last Friday’s basketball game. Because of student confidentiality, we will not be sharing any information or disciplinary actions or related consequences associated with the incident. I want to share that, while it is extremely regrettable that this occurred, it is an isolated event that should in no way serve as a representation of our athletic programs or the character of our athletes. The Alton School District’s Athletic Programs have established and maintained a rich history of sportsmanship, honor, and excellence. We will continue in striving to ensure that an incident like this does not happen again in the future and that our students and student-athletes are equipped and empowered to make good choices at all times.”
The incident has had a ripple effect on other schools. McKinley basketball players practiced on Wednesday because their scheduled game against Riverview Gardens was canceled.
“It’s just another day to get better to have competition,” said McKinley Coach Drew Simmons. “Our boys are ready to play.”