TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Sen. Nick DiCeglie, R-St. Petersburg, and Rep. Berny Jacques, R-Clearwater, filed legislation Monday to prevent juveniles who are convicted of crimes as an adult from playing high school sports.
HB 545 and SB 530 bar high school students who are convicted or held responsible in an adult court for homicide, sexual battery, or lewd and lascivious offenses from participating in high school athletics.
DiCeglie explained in the press release that when tragedy strikes, “we as a community have the ability to provide support for the victims and their families.”
DiCeglie told Florida’s Voice about a situation in Pinellas County took place at one point where a student was killed in a boating accident. The individual who was held responsible for the death was able to remain in high school and continue playing sports, according to DiCeglie.
“This bill increases accountability, and prohibits those who commit heinous crimes from participating in high-school sports,” DiCeglie said. “I am proud to work with Rep. Jacques to get this important legislation passed.”
”This bill is about accountability and common sense,” Jacques said in a press release. “Any student dangerous enough to commit these serious crimes, and as a result held responsible in the adult system, should not be allowed anywhere near a sports team.”
DiCeglie explained that it “wasn’t appropriate” for that student to be participating in the sport while being held responsible.
”We just want to make sure that anytime there’s a situation like this, where there’s a crime and tragic accident, but someone is ultimately held responsible, to prevent that individual from participating in a high school sports or competitive activity,” he said. “I think it’s something that’s very appropriate.”
He added that there are possibilities where a student is in school serving out probation after being sentenced to one of the serious crimes.
”As a parent of two kids myself, I would not want to see a student who, again, was held responsible for a tragic accident like that, to be cheered on during a sporting event.” He said. “It’s not good for the parents [and] I think it doesn’t send a good message to our community when we talk about accountability on some of these things.”