To reduce the chances of fights, some Kanawha County football coaches have told their players not to shake hands with opposing team members after games.
That's what members of the Kanawha County Board of Education have heard, and they don't think it's acceptable.
"Very few of our children are going to make a living by athletics. But what they learn from being on a team . . . are life lessons," said board member Becky Jordon. "We need to make sure our kids play the game fair . . . no matter who wins or loses."
There is no countywide policy that addresses sportsmanship, Jordon said, and she suggested one might be needed after hearing that some schools might be lacking.
The board will consider such a policy during its regular meeting Thursday.
The 13-page proposed policy addresses sportsmanship for students, fans, coaches and school administrators. Although much of it seems common sense, board member Bill Raglin said it's important to clearly outline what is expected of everyone at an athletic event.
It's also important to realize students should be expected to behave appropriately in any setting, Raglin said. An action that seems ridiculous in a classroom - using profanity toward an administrator - is equally unacceptable on a playing field, he said, and the board needs to take that stance.
Board member Robin Rector agreed.
"I think what we fear we're seeing . . . is that there may be two different standards for your regular academic students and your athletic students," Rector said.
"If you're an academic student and you refuse to shake a teachers hand . . . you might be considered being insubordinate, disobedient, or not showing good choices."