Pubdate: Sun, 05 May 2002
Source: Decatur Daily (AL)
Copyright: 2002 The Decatur Daily
Author:  Deangelo McDaniel, Daily Staff Writer
Bookmark: (Drug Testing)
Bookmark: (Youth)


HARTSELLE -- The majority of City Council members here continue to talk 
about William Booth's speech March 25.

Booth is the head baseball coach at Hartselle High School.

With his players standing in the back of the council's meeting room, and 
supporters of the baseball program occupying most of the seats, Booth 
scolded the council.

For almost 30 minutes, he outlined the success of the baseball program and 
accused the council of "spreading rumors."

He painted a picture of a flawless baseball program and made the council 
seem wrong for questioning how school officials handled the results of two 
drug tests.

"This is incredible," Booth said. "Adults spreading rumors. That is 
incredible. I hope that you will evaluate the rumors."

What is not clear to councilmen is whether Booth knew that one of his 
players had failed a drug test.

This is one of the questions council members want the school board to answer.

A council majority said they will attend a Monday school board work 
session. The meeting will be at 5 p.m. in the school system's new office on 
College Street. The public may attend.

School Board Chairman Susan Puckett said the board didn't schedule the work 
session for the City Council, but added that the school board intends to 
respond to any concerns the council members have.

The council members remained silent at the March 25 meeting, although a 
majority of them supposedly knew that one baseball player had tested 
positive for marijuana and that school officials planned to take no 
disciplinary action.

"There are two things that several of us want the school board to answer," 
Mayor Clif Knight said. "We want to know how this meeting (Booth's) with 
the council took place. We want to discuss the inconsistency in statements 
made by school officials."

At first, Superintendent Lee Hartsell denied that either player failed a 
test, but he admitted later that one player tested positive for marijuana.

The players collapsed in school March 4. At the request of Principal Jerry 
Reeves, both submitted to drug tests. Rumors about the results of the tests 
circulated in Hartselle. The council felt that school officials were not 
going to act.

Councilman Allen Stoner publicly called for an independent investigation. 
Booth, the baseball team and baseball supporters attended the council's 
next meeting.

"What he did was made a mockery of city government, and I still don't 
appreciate it," Stoner said.
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