The varsity baseball team at John Burroughs High School in Burbank has been suspended after pictures of the team’s seniors posing on school grounds not following coronavirus protocols and in violation of state and county health orders surfaced on a team social media site, it was reported Tuesday.
Burbank Unified School District Superintendent Matt Hill told the Daily News in an email the seniors in the photos were suspended for two weeks and could rejoin the team March 15. The rest of the team can begin conditioning March 8, one week later than originally planned.
“We had a group of players and families dress up in uniform and take pictures on campus in violation of health orders (no masks, no social distancing, and mixing of families),” Hill told the Daily News via email.
“They then posted the picture on a JBHS baseball social media site. No player or family from the team notified the coach, school or district of this health order violation.”
Hill said the team would use the one week delay of athletic conditioning to “review health guidelines and safety protocols.”
Parent Jo Dee Freck, whose son Rory plays on the team, took the pictures.
“Our boys have been teammates and friends for years prior to Burroughs, which has brought the families so close,” Freck told the newspaper, adding the players have lost nearly a year together.
“This photo was taken with the idea to commemorate and remember their senior season,” she said. “The boys were just trying to make their moms happy.”
Another parent of a player bristled at the superintendent’s decision to suspend the team.
“For Matt Hill to discipline a team of players based on an individual offense, separate from any team activity, is unprecedented and an egregious abuse of the district’s power in order to prove a point,” Brian Nichols told the Daily News.
“For a district that claims to care about the mental health of its students, this decision is in direct opposition of that claim.”
The suspension does not apply to the school’s freshman and junior varsity teams, which began conditioning Monday.
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