Mailbag: What happened to zero tolerance at CdM?

Re. "CdM's Brown kills addiction," (Sports, May 18):

I enjoyed reading your article regarding CdM's star volleyball player, Parker Brown and, am so happy that he is on his way to a sober lifestyle.

My question is this: What do parents like myself tell our students who play sports at CdM when we are asked why this particular kid never got kicked off the team or out of school when he was high during games? Many parents, including myself, have been led to believe that CdM has a "zero tolerance" policy for any type of drug.

Yet after reading this article, this boy got to play in every game and also never got kicked out of school.

It seems that this is the complete opposite of what the school authorities have led us to believe and what we want our students to believe. So when my freshman athlete reads this article and thinks, "Hmm, sounds pretty cool that I can get high and still play my sport and even excel," what are we as parents suppose to tell our children?

I am very happy for this boy, don't get me wrong, but the message in this article never states what kind of consequences the school or his coaches imposed on him. In fact, it states that he is able to play in all the CIF games, has four amazing college choices, etc.

I realize he had to go to rehab, but that was his parents' choice, not the school's. Where do parents like us who have told our kids that they will get kicked off their teams, kicked out of school, etc. go from here?

We are under the impression that all the athletes have to sign a "code of conduct" before each season stating that he/she will not partake in any type of drug use or illegal activity. I'm very confused! Please point me in the right direction.

Jennifer Mannon

Newport Beach

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Pilot story sent the wrong message

I am a faithful reader of the Daily Pilot because I think that we live in the greatest community, with talented students, athletes and great families. I love the success stories, and like everyone, I love to hear a great overcoming obstacle story, but your article on Parker Brown has really thrown me for a loop.

As the mom of a sixth-grader who is already hesitant about sending her oldest to a middle school that is on the same campus as the high school, how am I supposed to address my son's questions about this article? Everything that I believed about CdM is thrown out the window.

How in the world was Brown allowed to stay in school when this highly ranked school has a "zero tolerance" policy regarding drug use?

I realize that your job is to state the facts, but did you think how those facts might affect the upcoming 350 or so seventh-graders headed there in the fall? Should I just tell my son that as long as you are a great athlete, no one really cares what you do in your own time or even when you are on campus?

Whatever happened to consequences and paying for our actions? Isn't this the problem with so many of the bigger-named athletes today? They think they do not have to abide by the same "rules" as everyone else.

Those lessons start right here, in our Corona del Mar High School and should apply to all athletes.

I am a mother of four, all headed for CdM, just like my husband and his four siblings did. We have taught our kids good values, integrity and morals here in our home. That is no one else's responsibility but my own. Hopefully, Brown's dilemma will never be one of my children's trials.

I am happy that Brown has found a good place to be without being under any influence, but honestly, he should not have been able to stay at CdM at all, and you should have known better than to glamorize his actions by publishing your article.

As a side note but still on the subject, why would Tumua Anae, a CdM water polo player who made the Olympic team, and who has never been high in her life, be given a square-inch picture in a recent Daily Pilot while Brown got an entire half page? The Olympics — with no drugs.

That is a story that I do want my kids to hear and one that I would love to discuss with them.

I am afraid that this is an issue that will not go away any time soon. I write this because I have four kids who hope to play sports at the high school level someday, so I am concerned there is an inconsistency here. I would love to know how Brown's addiction got past his coaches, principal and parents, just so I can be aware and help my kids understand CdM's "zero tolerance" policy.

I have confidence that my kids will make good decisions. I would just love to have that confidence in the people around them and in their leaders. I would love your insight at your convenience.

Janine Wynn

Newport Beach

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Principal responds to parents

Recently, an article in the Daily Pilot described how one of our student athletes overcame a challenging period in his life. We are proud of this young man and his efforts to better himself. Also, we are grateful for the help and support that his coach demonstrated on his behalf. The article did an outstanding job of reflecting both his past challenges and his now brighter future.

However, any conclusion that staff at Corona del Mar witnessed our player under the influence of any controlled substance at a practice, game or while on campus is grossly inaccurate. Had then been the case, the student would have been immediately referred for disciplinary action. This is a good opportunity for CdM to reinforce to all of our students and community that the Newport-Mesa Unified School District Board of Education policy No. 5144.11 (Controlled Substance, Alcohol and/or Other Intoxicants) is rigorously enforced by our school. We do not condone the use of any controlled substance by any student or student athlete.

Tim Bryan

Principal, Corona del Mar High School

Corona del Mar

Editor's note: The above letter was sent to Newport-Mesa parents, one of whom forwarded it to the Pilot, and is being republished here.

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We should preserve Newport Bay

Re. Upper Newport Bay warrants protections (Mailbag, May 22):

Julie Carr's eloquent defense of Newport Bay repudiates John Wayne Airport designers, apologists and supporters who think Newport Bay is an ideal dumping ground for airplane noise and carcinogens. They will rue the day (many from their graves) that they went along with the Upper Newport Bay Nature Preserve and Ecological Reserve in the path of airplanes taking off from JWA.

The alternative to the airport and preserve is to reclaim the land, put Dutch windmills there, underground riparian corridors and build houses over the old estuary. Now airport supporters may wish to plant bitter grass in the preserve to drive the birds away.

As Carr so eloquently expresses, the lives of the birds and animals that inhabit Upper Newport Bay depend on us. Wake up, environmentalists, Earth First, Sierra Club, Save the Bay, California Coastal Commission and Surfrider Foundation. The threat is airplanes.

Donald Nyre

Newport Beach

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City charter must be done the right way

Re. "Harlan: Council should explain new budgetary direction" (column, May 20):

From the community's standpoint, Jeffrey Harlan's suggestion is a great one. He proposes that the Costa Mesa City Council should "establish a set of guiding principles ... to test whether the final budget actually supports the community's priorities for the upcoming fiscal year."

People like to hold their representatives accountable. However, from the politicians' standpoint, it's not so great; it ties their hands.

Like most politicians, Costa Mesa councilmen have shown they prefer fewer constraints, not more. They like the freedom to say out loud "tough luck," and under their breath, "Because I say so." This preference is displayed in their proposed charter for the city.

Harlan might consider taking on the proposed charter as he did the budget. He could very appropriately recycle the suggestion from his budget column into a column about what should be in a charter. He might say something like: "Costa Mesa City Council should establish a set of guiding principles in the proposed charter to be used to test whether their actions actually support the community's priorities."

We already know, though, that the council wants a charter that places few constraints on its actions. The draft is short and vague, having only 31 sections compared with neighboring Newport Beach's 105. Council members' comments from the dais also make it clear that they don't want anything hemming them in.

Their desire for broad power with few constraints scares people. As critics put it, "The danger is not what's in the charter, but what's not in it." Voters are being asked to give up the protections of known state law for the uncertainties of a vague charter giving enormous discretion to the council.

It's important to get a one-year budget right, of course. It's even more important to get the proposed charter right, as it's a forever kind of document.

Daisy McGarr

Costa Mesa

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Cyclists do pay their 'fair share'

Re. "Mailbag: Bicyclists, motorists make for a dangerous mix" (Mailbag, May 16):

In response to Carole Wade's assertion that bicyclists don't pay their "fair share" and are getting a "free ride," I'd like to know how she came to that conclusion. Most of the cyclists I know own a home or rent, thereby directly or indirectly paying property taxes; own at least one vehicle, thereby paying all the taxes, license fees, gas tax, etc. associated with that; buy things at stores, paying sales tax.

I fail to see how cyclists are not paying their "fair share," unless she's just focusing on the fact that they are not burning gas while they are riding.

As for her recommendations to the committee, good luck getting No. 1 passed and enforced. You'll need a state law for that.

As for No. 2, I really don't see how that will help much — it certainly doesn't make people better drivers from what I can see. For No. 3, see above — cyclists already pay taxes, fees, etc.

Mike Iglesias

Costa Mesa

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