19 GSW athletes suspended as a result of party

GARDNER — Gardner-South Wilmington High School Dist. 73 Superintendent Michael Perrott confirmed to the Morris Daily Herald Thursday that 19 athletes were suspended from activities as a result of a party earlier this month where alcohol was involved.

According to the Grundy County Sheriff's office, police responded to a noise complaint at 10:48 p.m. on Monday, April 2, in South Wilmington.

Police confiscated alcohol at the party, according to Perrott, but no arrests were made.

Perrott said there has been no confirmation as to who was drinking at the party, but, regardless, the athletes in attendance were suspended because of guilt by association.

"Our code of conduct says that, in this case, whether you're drinking or not drinking, it doesn't matter," Perrott said. "You were in the proximity, so there's guilt by association."

Athletes suspended include 10 baseball players, three softball players, and one track and field athlete. Gardner-South Wilmington co-ops with Dwight in track.

Perrott said there were a few fall sport athletes also involved who will serve their suspensions when their sports resume. Also at the party were seniors who had already completed their athletic careers, as well as students not involved in athletics.

Perrott said baseball and softball players were suspended for six games, but the length of the suspensions is dependent on the sport.

After Thursday's 9-7 loss to Plano, GSW baseball coach Jon Posing said his players' suspensions will end after Monday's game at Tri-Point.

Perrott said the school has spent around 30 hours trying to figure out who was involved at the party.

"We're trying to do the right thing, we're trying to get all the stories straight. We're just trying to do the right thing," he said. "That's why we're taking the time trying to get an accurate picture ... trying to determine what happened that evening."

Perrott said the school has been gathering information bit by bit after interviewing students.

"It's a large puzzle. Every one of the students gives you a little piece of the puzzle," Perrott said. "After you put it together, we have a pretty good idea what happened throughout the evening."

Gardner-South Wilmington High School has a reciprocal agreement with the Grundy County Sheriff's office, as most school districts do. The agreement says that in the case of an activity outside of school, such as this one, police will provide info to the school so the school can make a decision on punishment.

At the same time, should a student get caught with drugs or alcohol on campus, the school would share the information with law enforcement, in addition to hadning out its own discipline.

"In doing so, we help keep an eye out for each other," Perrott said. "It's a reciprocal reporting agreement."