Staples volleyball players face discipline over Ridgefield incident
Updated 7:43 am, Friday, April 20, 2012
Players on the Staples High School boys volleyball team face disciplinary action after police were called to investigate the apparent theft of Ridgefield High School volleyball jerseys by some Westport players following a match in Ridgefield last Friday.
Ridgefield High boys volleyball coach Lidania Cibere told Ridgefield police that players on the Staples team had stolen items from the gym after she noticed four balls and four jerseys were missing, according to a Ridgefield police report on the incident. Cibere said the stolen items "were placed right next to the Staples team" and that she had unsuccessfully tried to stop the Staples bus as it left the school and headed south on Route 116 back to Westport, police said.
The Staples bus was stopped by police as it headed east on Branchville Road toward Route 7, and Ridgefield officers checked players' duffel bags after permission was granted by Staples coach Jon Shepro, police said. During the search, three Ridgefield boys jerseys were found in the duffel bags of two Westport players, according to the report. Police turned the jerseys over to an assistant Ridgefield coach for return to their owners.
No Ridgefield volleyballs were found in any of the Staples players' bags or on the bus, police said.
No criminal charges were filed, and the incident will be handled administratively by the athletic directors at both schools, police said.
Both school districts have been closed this week for spring vacation.
Elliott Landon, Westport superintendent of schools, on Thursday told the Westport News that one player has been identified thus far for his role in the incident. Landon said Shepro and Marty Lysevick, Westport schools' athletic director, have met with the player's parents and are prepared to address the issue Monday when classes resume.
"The assistant principal of that grade will interview the team members and will take appropriate action," said Landon, who has not been in the office during the week. "There will be team consequences and school consequences as well because off-site activity is considered part of regular school activities," he said.
Lysevick said interviews with volleyball players will take place Monday with school administrators because "there's school consequences and then there's athletic consequences after that."
John Dodig, Staples High School principal, said the incident does not reflect the general day-to-day conduct of the school's athletes.
"Most of our male and female athletes behave well both on the playing field during contests and off the field," said Dodig, who has been Staples' principal for eight years. "This young man made a terrible decision and will suffer a serious consequence."
Shepro declined to comment, referring questions to school officials.
Carl Charles, Ridgfield schools' athletic director, said he and Cibere have spoken to Lysevick about the incident.
"I'm not sure what the consequences will be, but I'm sure he (Lysevick) will handle it appropriately," he said.
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