The 1987 Film, “Full Metal Jacket” was full of memorable scenes and interesting dialogue. One of the more memorable scenes was when Sgt. Hartmann (a drill Sergeant) disciplines an entire company of Marines because one of the Marines, Pvt. Pyle, (a rotund, dimwitted slacker) brings a Jelly Doughnut into the barracks from the mess hall. Instead of punishing Pvt. Pyle, Sgt. Hartmann rewards Pyle, allowing him to eat the doughnut while all of the other Marines have to do push-ups.
While this method of discipline may work effectively for Marines and Soldiers, when put into practice in real life it ticks people off.—Not the “Pvt. Pyles”, but the other “Marines” who follow rules and regulations.
A new policy is being rolled out in the Escambia County School District, which essentially punishes the vast majority of parents who follow the rules because of some parents who violate the rules—“The Jelly Doughnut” Discipline model manifests itself in real life!
All students in our district who choose to participate in interscholastic athletics are required to have insurance, and to provide proof of insurance at the beginning of the season. For the vast majority of parents this is not an issue.
But some parents, in the past, have allowed their insurance policies to lapse without notifying the district or coaches. This has led to some students playing in sports without medical coverage.
When an injury occurs, these injured students are often treated in local hospitals and the costs are absorbed by those institutions.
The district’s new plan is to make accident insurance mandatory for ALL students, even parents who are currently abiding by the policy, military who have coverage, military retirees who have Tri-Care, state and federal retirees who have blue-cross blue-shield—it does not matter. All of these folks will now have to purchase additional insurance because some students’ parents did not follow policy.
I think the goal of wanting every athlete covered is noble, however a new blanket rule that requires everyone to purchase additional insurance is aggressive; once the idea hits some who already have “gold-plated” Cadillac insurance plans that they are going to have to buy more—I think these people will become vocally opposed. For some it will be a matter of cost, but for more it will be a matter of principle.
Liability--- I have been told the district is at risk of shouldering liability if this policy is not put into place. I asked the director of Risk Management how many judgments we have lost as a result of an athlete being injured without insurance in the last five years; I have not received an answer, but my sense is it will be a small number (if any). I have faith that our current liability waiver is strong and that if a parent violates the district’s policy by allowing their child’s insurance policy to lapse, that PARENT owns the liability.
Student Protection/Medical Care—This is America. If a student is injured and his parents have violated policy by not maintaining insurance coverage as required, that student will still receive world class medical attention at the nearest emergency room.
I do not believe in disciplining the majority of parents who follow the rules because some do not. I believe mandatory insurance, unless it is extremely inexpensive, will discourage some from even trying out and will decrease participation. (The insurance has to be bought prior to try-out, and is non-refundable)
The correct solution is to do the paperwork correctly, follow the curent process, and parents who violate the policy should have their children pulled from athletics. Break, end of text.
As I stated in yesterday’s workshop meeting, while not thrilled with this policy, I’ll support it if a waiver can be crafted that exempts from the purchase of additional insurance the parents that have non-cancellable health insurance policies. (Retired military, civil service, federal and state employees, etc.)
Having the policy with the waiver is a fair compromise, because, after all, The “Jelly Doughnut” discipline model is not fair or just in real life when applied to those who are playing by the rules.
Let's get it right and make the "Pvt. Pyles" do the push-ups!
I am one member of a five person board. The opinions I express on this forum are mine only, and do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of the Escambia County Staff, Administrators, Employees, or anyone else associated with Escambia County Florida. I am interested in establishing this blog as a means of additional transparency to the public, outreach to the community, and information dissemination to all who choose to look. Feedback is welcome, but because public participation is equally encouraged, appropriate language and decorum is mandatory.