As seniors, Severna Park High School lacrosse players Logan Swartz, Sam Mayer and Cole Duncan looked forward to their final season. Yet, their high school lacrosse careers ended early because they attended a party last month where alcohol was served.
The three teens—along with 19 others—were issued underage drinking citations at a March 23 house party at a Severna Park home.
Swartz, Mayer and Duncan were removed from the varsity lacrosse team for detrimental behavior despite their contentions that they did not drink alcohol at the party. The three are fighting being removed from the lacrosse team and filed letters of appeal with the high school on Monday morning.
According to the Anne Arundel County Public Schools (AACPS) athletic handbook, all student athletes agree to a code of conduct when they join teams. Any violations of that conduct are subject to penalty.
The AACPS handbook states: “Any conduct deemed detrimental to the student athlete, team and/or overall good of the program, anytime, on and off campus, can result in penalties ranging from verbal reprimand to expulsion from the team as determined by the head coach.”
On the night of the party, the teens’ mothers said that the three lacrosse players asked police to be given breath tests but were denied.
“At no time did anyone see them with beer,” said Sam Mayer’s mother, Beth Mayer.
The woman who lives at the home where the party took place, with contributing to the condition of a minor and disorderly house, according to online charging documents.
After the players were issued citations, they said that the next day they spoke to Severna Park High School head lacrosse coach Larry Kramer about the incident.
“We went to his house and told him the whole story,” Duncan said. “He literally said, ‘It’s fine’ like 20 times and that is not an exaggeration.
Patch contacted Severna Park High athletic director Wayne Mook to speak to Kramer, but Mook declined comment.
The teens attended practice on March 25 but they were suspended from the team indefinitely a day later, Duncan said. Two weeks later, the teens received letters saying they were no longer on the lacrosse team.
“We felt like it was inappropriately handled,” said Logan Swartz’ mother, Cathy Swartz. “We never spoke to the athletic director and the principal wouldn’t speak to us.”
Anne Arundel County Public Schools spokesman Bob Mosier would not comment on the specifics of the case, but did say the code of conduct is clearly addressed.
“There is language in the athletic handbook, which every school also uses, and in team rules and school athletic rules that clearly addresses matters of conduct that may be detrimental to student athletes, and clearly spells out the possible penalties for such conduct,” Mosier said.
Kim Duncan said that while her son made a mistake in going to the party, the punishment he received did not fit the crime.
“You punish your children appropriately. But I deem this very inappropriate,” Kim Duncan said.
Beth Mayer said she went to the high school and asked to speak to principal Patrick Bathras about the situation, but said she was never given the chance. Sam Mayer's case has since been dismissed in court through juvenile services, she said. Duncan and Swartz are still awaiting court appearances.
When contacted on Tuesday, Bathras declined to comment on the incident.
According to the school system's policy, Bathras—as high school principal—has 10 school days to address the appeal. The last lacrosse game of the regular season is scheduled for May 3.
"At this point in time, I’d like the boys’ names to be cleared. I want an apology," said Cathy Swartz.
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