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.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

The “Jelly Doughnut” Discipline Model

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.

The Issues

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!


Anonymous said...

From what I understand and what you failed to mention is one of the plans being proposed for this student athletics "accidental plan" only cost $6 for middle school athletes and $12 for high school athletes for the entire year, and there is no risk of cancellation. In addition it is a one-time assessment good for entire year whether you play one sport or ten sports. This appears to protect our kids and also covers most out of pocket expenses that a primary medical plan does not pay.....$6-12 dollars for a plan that could result in a pay back to me as a parent for out-of-pocket expenses sounds like a wise investment and a "no brainer" even for those that have a "cadillac policy".

If I am a invester, I'm looking at a potential return on my investment that could be multiple times the amount of this minimal assessment. In addition, I do not believe that that a major medical policy exist that does not have cancellation clause....including the ones you mentioned as anytime you have a monthly premium have a cancellation potential.

I appeciate those that bring plans like these for an affordable cost that can be an excellent benefit...I would not have otherwise known that this type policy exist and was available.

Jeff Bergosh said...

I appreciate your perspective, and overall I like the idea of everyone having coverge. However, I do not like the purchase being mandatory. The policy was rolled out in a very choppy manner, resulting in the board finding out about it first from angry parents. Immediately the rationale for the policy started to evolve. First, it was liability--"we have liability if we don't do this, this is the reason we have to do this!" But no judgements have been lost recently when curent procedure was followed correctly. Next it was, "The kids, we have to make sure they get care" Okay, that one is easy--in America anyone, with insurance or not, gets world-class treatment at the nearest emergency room. Next it was--"the current process is too dificult to manage" I'm not sure how I feel about that, but is that a good enough reason to make 97% of parents--who already abide by the policy and maintain coverage--pay more out of pocket for more insurance? The other reason that's been tossed out is "Some local hospitals are grumbling about paying for the care of student athletes who show up at emergency rooms and do not have coverage" Okay, this is totally on the parent who signed the form--make them pay, not the district and other responsible parents. I have issues with the justifications given thus far: the reasons keep changing quicker than a wall-crawling chameleon. If this was so extraordinarily important then the board should have been made aware of this new plan back in January or February--so we could have had time to thoroughly research this without scrambling at the last minute in sloppy fashion. I support the concept, and I believe thepurpose of this plan is good, but as is always the case, the devil is in the details and there are some details to this plan that need to be worked out before I'll support this.

Jim Faxlanger said...

How do you know the cost? What is the reason that I who has coverage should be once again asked to subsidize others? This is not a school district issue but a healthcare issue. The only issue that belongs to the school district is to protect their own liability, this is done through the current process that is in place. Enforce existing policy and don't create a new one; if it works don't fix it, if it doesn't find out why it hasn't worked. This has many negative impacts on primary insurance coverage. Whether the price is $1 or $100 is insignificant. What an outrage

Anonymous said...

this idea should be dropped fast, don't take free chice from parents and tell them what insurance they have to buy, that,s what Obama is about to do for everyone and nobody likes that either

KC said...

Before you just up and make this kind of decision at least look at the idea to allow parents to be responsible for providing a copy of their insurance monthly. If this is not acceptable then I am sure that someone from each athletic department or even the school board can send emails to insurance companies asking for proof that the policy is still in effect. Do not just jump and punish everyone for some others mistake!

Anonymous said...

you are misguided. If you choose a medical supplement, that is your choice. If forced to do something, even if it is a good choice, you have been deprived of your free will. If you want to prostrate yourself as a fatuous sycophant to the government, be my guest; however, I do not want to be so directed.
Here is where this leads: you are overweight and the government is going to force you to eat a certain diet, which will cost only $300 a month if everyone is forced to participate. The benefits are you will live longer, be in better shape etc. The only problem, you really like your jelly doughnuts...

here are some things those wiser than you and me have observed about tyranny:

Communism is the death of the soul. It is the organization of total conformity - in short, of tyranny - and it is committed to making tyranny universal.
Adlai E. Stevenson

Dictatorship naturally arises out of democracy, and the most aggravated form of tyranny and slavery out of the most extreme liberty.