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Dismissed Lacrosse Players Appeal Coach's Decision After House Party

The three Severna Park lacrosse players who were kicked off the team following a March 23 house party are appealing the dismissal.

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.

See Also:

  • Police: 22 Teens Charged with Drinking at Party
  • Woman Charged in Severna Park House Party
SP mom April 24, 2013 at 07:06 PM
Pahahahaha!! Spot on Joe!!!! Amen!!!
SP mom April 24, 2013 at 08:04 PM
Just like DRINKING AMD DRIVING is AGAINST THE LAW!!!!!!!!!
Valerie Avedon Gardiner April 25, 2013 at 12:34 AM
"It's success?" It is success??? Huh??? Did YOU learn English at SPHS?!!!
Valerie Avedon Gardiner April 25, 2013 at 12:49 AM
The AACPS rules do not say "if you are at a party with underage drinking but you are not drinking you get a free pass..." Look it up. The rules are there for a reason. Your so-called "leaders" followed their under-age drinking friends to an inappropriate party. THEY GOT CAUGHT. If they are the "leaders" you want YOUR kids to follow, well I feel sorry for you. P.S. Have no idea what the Bingo snipe was about. Apparently you and SP Mom tried to hurt my itty bitty feelings. Nice try.
Mother of 4 April 25, 2013 at 09:49 AM
I'm glad that nothing worse than drinking happened at this party. Lives could be lost or some girl could be facing humiliation from a party that could go horribly wrong.
Wow April 25, 2013 at 08:52 PM
Boys were at a party briefly and didn't drink Boys have clean records Boys were suspended for four games Boys were given erroneous and conflicting information by head coach Boys were cleared of all wrong doing Why would people comment that they should remain off the team? On what basis? The AACPS? Come on people, check into reality. Those kids got a raw deal.
Tom Dooley April 25, 2013 at 09:39 PM
Minimal press coverage? The SP Party house has been the subject of at least 4 articles in the Capital Newspaper and 3 on the SP Patch. How much press coverage do you want? I don't know who you've been talking to but nobody I know thinks "nothing bad ever happens in Severna Park" or that "Severna Park athletes are above the law or the rules." Next time you get pulled over and issued a ticket for talking on your cellphone in the car, I hope they don't throw you in jail Valerie. Afterall, "life is about choices and repercussions for those choices."
Truth April 25, 2013 at 10:21 PM
The boys told the truth to their asst. coach the night of the incident and to their head coach the next day ( Sunday) at his home. The head coach asked the boys, " Who knew about the citations?" The boys shared that their families knew ( and obviously the police and party goers). The boys were told by their coach that day to " keep quiet" about the citations and that "everything would be fine." The coach allowed the boys to practice Monday w/ the rest of the team ( bc obviously " everything was fine").... By Tuesday when everything was no longer fine and the admin. as well as the rest of Severna Park knew about the incident due to the article in the paper, suddenly the coach seemed to have a change of heart. If the coach was intent on upholding the "rules" from the start why did those boys practice on Monday? If the kids are guilty, then certainly the coach is guilty as well for trying to cover up what they did until the he realized he could not and the issue was beyond his control. He should resign for breaking a coach's code of conduct.
FALCON mom April 25, 2013 at 11:53 PM
Thank you Tom! You are right on the mark! That stupid story is all I heard about. Move on already people.
FALCON mom April 25, 2013 at 11:55 PM
If you hate SP AND SPHS so badly, why don't your MOVE!?! I bet if your kid was at the wrong place at the wrong time, you would take your appeal to the Supreme Court. Please do us all a favor and get a life!
cheeky April 26, 2013 at 02:38 AM
I had the opportunity to read this article in the Capitol as well but was unable to make a comment. Perhaps things got a little out of hand and it was disabled. I think we feel the need to comment for personal reasons when we read articles such as this. Perhaps we know the families, the young men involved or we have kids of our own. Whatever the reason some of us feel the need to voice our opinion and be heard, even if we may not have all of the facts. Let's face it, we weren't there so we need to be very careful to only speak of the facts known and not put our own spin on it. I am saddened at some of the remarks I have read here. First, it sounds like a lot of people have some issues with the Severna Park community and it does not show you in a very good light when you insult these students and their parents because of some chip you may have on your shoulder. Statements such as, "Teflon attitude" and referring to the Severna Park athletes as, “feeling as though they are above the law” only emphasizes your insecurities. Your need to belittle others may serve to boost your self-esteem, even if only temporarily….
cheeky April 26, 2013 at 02:39 AM
(Continued) I remember when I was in high school my coaches and the faculty knew me and I feel they would have defended my character in a similar situation if warranted. I have done my homework as best that I could and what I have found is that these boys are good students, athletes and leaders in their school as well as in the community. I remember not too long ago reading and article in the paper regarding the Buzz Priddy Award being given to Sam Mayer just this year and what it represents. It is given to the student athlete that exhibits great leadership, hard work and character both on and off the playing field. Have we forgotten what it were like to be a young adult and all of the choices we are faced with? Can we not be trusted to make the right decision even in a difficult situation? What about punishment that fits the crime? I have neither respect nor admiration for the way in which this was handled by the coach and administration. It makes you wonder, how would you feel if this was your child?
Bruin41 April 26, 2013 at 03:28 AM
Are you serious Valerie??? You, the SP lax coach and the SPHS administration are the same type of individuals that would suspend a kindergartener for gnawing a pop tart into the shape of a pistol or sending a 1st grader home early because his birthday cupcakes had Army men on them. Unlike you I can remember when I was young. These boys stopped by a party!!! I guess in hindsight they should have called ahead to ensure no under-age drinking was going on. When all is said and done, these boys will persevere. They were unjustly punished because the SPHS so-called leaders were more interested in protecting their self-interests and obviously don’t have the intestinal fortitude to stand up for what’s right when they learned the facts. Personally, I used this situation to teach my kids a life lesson. They understand that life isn’t always fair and unfortunate things happen to good people. I’m just glad they won’t go to SPHS and have to endure 4 years of education from this group of bureaucrats.
Vested Interest April 26, 2013 at 02:29 PM
The " 4 game" suspension is now a ten game & likely their entire season. A 4 game suspension would have been sufficient. The even greater issue is that these boys are being made the poster children for a larger problem at SP. There are many athletes at SP including former lacrosse players who have made worse choices than these kids. Often, the lacrosse players were not held to consequences ( certainly not of this caliber) but things were able to be kept "in house" so the entire community wasn't watching how the coach or admin reacted. It's very apparent the coach realized by Tues. he couldn't control the outcome & got pressure from the admin. that swifter action must taken. It's inexcusable that the principal refused to meet with the boys to discuss the incident. If they are worried that the community is watching how they would react to this incident they were correct. A 4 game suspension, community service...would have sent a message.They had a chance to send the right message to players, parents and the SP comm. They had a chance to be proactive and welcome the wake up call in an appropriate way. Instead, they now look like cowards who will never again be trusted by many and have lost a great deal of respect in the community. Coach and Principal! Do the right the thing. Admit it your mistake in this, learn from it and move forward. You have an opportunity to turn things around for the better and make a positive lasting impact. For everyone's sake WAKE UP!!!
Mike well April 26, 2013 at 03:23 PM
Valerie, you state the case very well. I wonder about parents who are blinded by the bigger picture here. The kids were wrong and should not have been there. They made a contract with the school and team and they need to learn to fulfill that agreement. Mike
SPFALCON April 26, 2013 at 03:42 PM
SP mom and Falcon Mom- You both believe anyone that disagrees with the almighty high school lacrosse coach should move out of Severna Park- Thats rather odd- kk
Tom Dooley April 26, 2013 at 05:19 PM
Nobody ever said they didn't make a mistake or deserve not to be punished. The boys themselves went to the coach and told him immediately. If the coach is so adament about this rule, why did he: 1) tell the players everything was o.k.; 2) allow the players to return to practice; 3) Tell the players to lie if anyone questioned them about being at the party or receiving citations; 4) tell a player's parent he would need to suspend the players for 4 games due to "pressure from the Administration" 5) change the punishment to suspended indefinitely and tell the players to "keep in shape and watch film incase he summonsed them back"; 6) make the players wait 2 weeks until he made up his mind If it's such a clearcut violation, why weren't they dismissed immediately? The SPHS Coach/Administration can't justify this and instead choose to hide behind some poorly written Code of Conduct. It's pathetic.
W. L. April 28, 2013 at 02:46 PM
If anyone has had their child coached by this Varsity coach, they know that this man has had different standards for every player. Over the years we have watched him allow players to come to practice 'high'. If a parent complained to him about 'anything' and their child was not one of the ace players, their child did not get on the field after that. Some of the players have asked their parents not to say anything because they knew what the ramifications would be.He has known that many of his players over the years have gone to these kinds of parties and have been drinking. But winning is the bigger issue with him. He has not consistent & set proper standards that the boys need. We have seen a player(s) use foul language and give him the finger. But again, if that kid was an ace player, no consequences. Most of the kids on these teams have done the right thing, regardless of these different standards. It was so bad last year that one of the players wrote a letter to his team,asking them to stop doing all these negative things that hurt the team and morale.This coach should have been removed a long long time ago. Up to now the school principal and the coach have not set an example for anyone to follow.This is not the first time there have been cover-ups. Let's get a coach that the kids can look up to and is himself a good honest leader. Re county rules-different standards. Arundel High School, experienced citations, same problem but only suspended the cited players for 3 games.
SPHS1965 April 28, 2013 at 09:26 PM
I think a 4 game suspension would have been more appropriate in light of the fact that they were found innocent of underage drinking. Had they been only suspended for 4 games I believe they would have learned a valuable lesson. Instead, by being thrown off the team completely they (and their parents) seem to have lost sight of the fact that they broke the rules and are just focusing on the fact that the crime did not warrant the punishment. And as far as the parent who said the boys should receive an apology.....well I think that kinda says that perhaps they think they are above the law. They are not doing the kids any favors. The boys were wrong but I do agree that the punishment did nit fit the crime.
SPParent April 28, 2013 at 10:38 PM
C
SPParent April 28, 2013 at 11:01 PM
Excellent discussion.....
SPParent April 28, 2013 at 11:02 PM
.....however; this is not unlike either the boys or girls lacrosse programs at SPHS. These head coaches only enforce the rules when required to give the appearance of "good order and discipline" within their programs....as winning is everything. Many girls and boys do not try out for Lax as they do not want to be part of the culture where the coaches clearly cater to favorites while blatantly overlooking activities that are not allowed according to the athlete’s handbook. Many players…girls and boys have wiped their Facebook accounts clean that would have implicated them in alcohol or substance related activities….many times with coach’s knowledge. Maybe it’s time to clean the LAX coaching and athletic oversight slate at SPHS and bring standards back to our sports.
mrs. robinson April 29, 2013 at 02:24 PM
If the coach and the principal are so sure they are doing the right thing, why won't they meet with the parents and explain it? We are asking these young men to accept a difficult situation. Regardless of all of the other circumstances, the school administrators need to 'man up' and explain the decision face to face. If not to the students, certainly to the parents. I find the dismissive reaction of the professionals in this situation unacceptable...childish even.
SPHS1965 April 30, 2013 at 02:27 AM
I think the "agreement" that the boys and other athletes are required to sign should be explanation enough. My understanding is that it is againist to rules to attend such events even if athlete is not drinking. If that is the case, then there should be no further explanation to the boys or their parents. They messed up, broke the rules and paid the price. Pure and simple.
Tom Dooley April 30, 2013 at 01:19 PM
You are obviously not familiar with the "agreement" the athletes must sign. Attending parties is not mentioned in the document at all. Considering the way the coach handled this (i.e. everything was o.k., 4 game suspension, indefinite suspension, dismissal) it's painfully obvious this decision was the result of pressure from above, as admitted by the coach. Meanwhile the do nothing athletic director and passive/aggressive principal who obviously had a huge say in this matter are letting the coach take all of the heat for this mess. If these people are in fact behind this, that's fine. But be enough of a man to stand behind your decision instead of hiding in the shadows and hanging the coach out to dry.
W. L. April 30, 2013 at 03:26 PM
I do not feel sorry for the coach. You obviously are not familiar with this coach. His handling of these boys over the years has been just like this. He hides it if he can. Winning is the priority. He rescinds the 'agreement' every time he hides the discretion.
SPHS1965 May 01, 2013 at 01:04 AM
Tom...as I said "it was my understanding". I did not quote the agreement because I do not know how it is worded exacty. That said, there must have been some verbage relating to where they were, if that is not the case then what was the actual infraction that caused the suspensions?
mrs. robinson May 01, 2013 at 06:09 PM
If it's a simple violation of the agreement, then present the agreement, the signatures and be done with the debate. Refusing to comment or meet with the parents just keeps the speculation alive. I don't care what the kids did. Have the decency to explain the punishment. Sending a letter...that's evasive and juvenile.
Kaitlyn Carr (Editor) May 15, 2013 at 12:27 AM
A comment from Falcon Mom was deleted because it violated Patch’s terms of use, which does not allow defamatory statements
Athletics May 17, 2013 at 12:24 PM
I work in athletics at a high school in Maine and we have a similar rule of conduct with our athletes!! As an athlete you are held to a higher standard because you are representing your high school at all times... being a high school athlete is a privilege not a right!! Underage drinking is against the law... if you are at a party where it is taking place (even if you are not drinking) it is your duty to report it rather than stay. I don't know this high school, coach, administration or players but I do know that what these athletes did was wrong!! Maybe if parents start holding their children more responsible for their actions then these students/athletes would make better choices!!!

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