The varsity baseball team at John Burroughs High School in Burbank has been suspended after pictures of the team's seniors posing on school grounds not following coronavirus protocols and in violation of state and county health orders surfaced on a team social media site.
Burbank Unified School District Superintendent Matt Hill told the Daily News in an email the seniors in the photos were suspended for two weeks and could rejoin the team March 15. The rest of the team can begin conditioning March 8, one week later than originally planned.
"We had a group of players and families dress up in uniform and take pictures on campus in violation of health orders (no masks, no social distancing, and mixing of families),'' Hill told the Daily News via email.
"They then posted the picture on a JBHS baseball social media site. No player or family from the team notified the coach, school or district of this health order violation."
Hill said the team would use the one week delay of athletic conditioning to "review health guidelines and safety protocols."
Parent Jo Dee Freck, whose son Rory plays on the team, took the pictures. She said the team member are close, so they wanted to capture a moment together and remember the senior season.
"The kids did it to make us happy," Freck said. "When you guy a yearbook, you want to be able to see your kids' pictures in the yearbook."
Her son, Rory, said the players took their masks off for the photos, then put them back on.
"Right after the pictuers, we social distanced, we put our masks back on," Rory said. "I thought we did a pretty good job of being safe."
Another parent of a player bristled at the superintendent's decision to suspend the team.
"For Matt Hill to discipline a team of players based on an individual offense, separate from any team activity, is unprecedented and an egregious abuse of the district's power in order to prove a point,'' Brian Nichols told the Daily News.
"For a district that claims to care about the mental health of its students, this decision is in direct opposition of that claim."
The suspension does not apply to the school's freshman and junior varsity teams, which began conditioning Monday.