Student Players Fight Punishment! 

Student Players Fight Punishment! 
Posted by FoM on August 10, 1999 at 11:54:36 PT
By Ken Carlson, Bee Staff Writer
Source: Modesto Bee
MANTECA -- Two 17-year-old high school students are challenging an administrative decision to suspend them from class for five days, transfer them to other schools and bar them from playing sports this fall. 
Travis McPherson and Adam Zeiher, both students and football players at Sierra High, claim they were intimidated into admitting they smoked marijuana during a lunch break in May.  Monday, they both insisted that they did not smoke the drug.  A disciplinary review board refused to reverse the action even though the boys tested negative for drugs 14 days after the incident, parents of the students said. Though two weeks had passed, the test still could have turned up marijuana in the system.  The parents say the run-in with Manteca Unified School District's drug policy will nullify the boys' participation in sports this fall and jeopardize their collegiate careers.  "We think Travis has a future in college," said his father, Greg McPherson. "To take it all away from him over this is unfair."  A secretary for MUSD Superintendent Marv Tatum said the school board plans to discuss the matter this evening in closed session. Tatum was unavailable for comment Monday.  On May 25, McPherson, Zeiher and two other Sierra classmates returned to campus after a quick lunch at Zeiher's home when a school monitor stopped them in the parking lot.  The monitor said he smelled marijuana in the car and escorted the boys to the dean's office. There, the students say, each was questioned in separate rooms.  Zeiher said a school official gave him a choice: either admit to smoking pot or police officers would take him in handcuffs to the police station.  "I was thinking about what was going to be the easy way," said Zeiher, whose father is a Manteca police reservist. "I thought, 'How's this going to look for my dad at the Police Department?' So I admitted to it."  Zeiher, McPherson and one other student confessed in writing; the other student professed innocence and was excused.  The students who confessed received five-day suspensions and are ineligible for sports for 45 days, effective this fall. Involuntary transfers will force Zeiher to spend his senior year at East Union High; McPherson must attend Manteca High.  It means the death sentence for McPherson's prep sports career, because of rules requiring disciplinary transfers to wait a year before playing again.  McPherson, a lineman and punter for Sierra last year, has letters of interest from four Ivy League schools, the University of California at Davis, Cal Poly and the University of Nevada. He also excelled on the Sierra golf team.  With a grade-point average hovering around 3.0, McPherson is counting on an athletic scholarship to get him into a top college.  "If I can't play this fall," McPherson said, "the colleges will look at that. They will see that on my record and will say, 'Forget about him.'"  Zeiher said he just wants to play one more football season at Sierra and graduate with his class of 2000.  He and McPherson submitted to blood tests at Doctors Hospital in Manteca on June 8. Copies of the test provided by the parents show they tested negative for cannabis.  Greg McPherson said he went ballistic when a disciplinary review board member suggested during the June 11 hearing that the boys did something to skew the test results.  Gary Zeiher, father of Adam Zeiher, called the suspensions outrageous because searches of the car, the boys' backpacks and their lockers found no traces of marijuana. "They are just saying we smell pot and your eyes are dilated, and for that your future is down the drain," he said. Published: Tuesday, August 10, 1999 Copyright  The Modesto Bee.,1113,96134,00.htmlRelated Article: Judge Allows Student Challenging Drug Testing - 8/06/99
Home Comment Email Register Recent Comments Help

Post Comment

Name: Optional Password: 
Comment: [Please refrain from using profanity in your message]
Link URL: 
Link Title: