RIIL: Probation on Burrillville athletics will stand

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WARWICK – The Rhode Island Interscholastic League will not reverse their decision to put Burrillville High School on a one year probation following an unanimous vote this week by the Principal Committee on Athletics.

The committee voted 12-0 to uphold the ruling, issued on Friday, Oct. 11 for unsportsmanlike conduct following an incident at a girls volleyball game against Central Falls.

The ruling was a source of contention among many in town, who noted that athletes at the school were being punished for the actions of fans. Members of the Town Council called on the Burrillville School Committee to appeal the decision, and while the school board did not issue an official challenge, a formal letter was sent to RIIL Executive Director Thomas Mezzanotte requesting a review of the organization’s rules for unsportsmanlike conduct.

The probation was one item on a list of disciplinary actions following a September game at which spectators exhibited behavior “that was intimidating and distracting to the opposing team and created an unsportsmanlike and culturally insensitive environment,” according to RIIL.

Burrillville Supt. Michael Sollitto and High School Principal Michael Whaley, who both serve on the committee, abstained from the vote on Monday, Nov. 18.

Committee members commended Sollitto and Whaley for initiatives taken at the school following the decision.  The high school has implemented a corrective action plan, which includes partnering with the Nonviolence Institute and the Rhode Island Commission on Prejudice and Bias to run assemblies and workshops on cultural competence.

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