LEHIGH ACRES, Fla. – Nine Lehigh Senior High School basketball players will sit out the rest of the season, including Wednesday’s district semi-final game, after a video showing them freestyling explicit and sexually suggestive lyrics surfaced online.
Parents and community members plan to protest the decision outside the Lee County School District headquarters on Wednesday. They hope to have players reinstated before the game and to not have them miss a week of school.
The nine boys were originally suspended from school for two days, but the punishment was increased to five days and the players being banned from playing for the rest of the year.
“They don’t get in trouble outside of school nor do they get in trouble inside of school and this one incident come and you just take it overboard,” said Desiree McDonald, who has two sons suspended. “They made a mistake as a child. They’re not adults. And yes they do have to learn from their mistakes but I feel like they’ve learned from the mistake that they made and I don’t feel like either one of those kids would do that again.”
The decision could cost some players college scholarships, especially with them not playing in upcoming games where scouts will be present, said McDonald, who added that their children’s futures should not be jeopardized for an immature blunder.
The disciplinary action is aligned with the district’s code of conduct, which includes a parent agreement form, school officials said.
According to the handbook, “loss of eligibility for extracurricular activities” and “out of school suspension” are classified as Level II corrective actions.
Corrective actions should, when possible, “minimize student’s time away from classroom instruction,” according to the code of conduct.
McDonald, the parent, feels each player should be declined separately according to their level of involvement instead of getting a one-size-fits-all punishment.