One of the top 10 teams in the final 2011 football RivalsHigh 100 — and a surefire contender to be a part of the RivalsHigh 100 again in 2012 — finds itself mired in controversy after three of its members were caught stealing school computer equipment on surveillance camera, yet all were allowed to return to class.
As first reported by Dallas-Fort Worth network WFAA, three Dallas (Texas) Skyline students — two of whom are members of the football program -- were caught on surveillance cameras stealing campus computer equipment from a school classroom. As soon as it became clear that the students had stolen the computer gear campus police were called in and forced the trio to return everything they had stolen.
While that may have been a good start, traditional punishment would have seen all three students arrested for attempted theft. Yet these students were not arrested at all, and in fact were immediately allowed to return to class.
That decision infuriated Skyline teachers, who aired grievances that the football players were receiving preferential treatment. That firestorm of teacher discontent sparked comment from new Dallas Independent School District Superintendent Mike Miles, who told WFAA that he knew nothing about the charges but that he fundamentally disapproved of any favorable treatment for one group of students.
"Whatever the consequences are for Johnny is the same consequence for Sally, and it doesn't matter if they are an athlete or not," Miles told WFAA. "So there's not special treatment for athletes or for coaches -- especially if you are breaking the law."
Just hours later, DISD released a statement claiming that all three students involved in the computer theft had suddenly been arrested, with an investigation launched into why the suspects had not immediately been arrested after their attempted theft was discovered.
It remains to be seen what effect the arrests of the students will have on the Skyline program, though clearly nothing good will come from it, particularly for a program which was aiming to rebound from a crushing, late state semifinal loss which kept them from an even higher perch in the national top-10 and, in all likelihood, another state title.