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EHS golfer suspended

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Athletes' punishment not consistent, player says
JOEY DAUBEN
The Ellis County Press

ENNIS - An Ennis High School golfer has been suspended from the team for smoking a cigarette outside a hotel during a Lions' tournament stay in Lufkin.

Beau Williams, a junior, was caught smoking a cigarette while on a golf tournament in Lufkin after lying to his coach about having them.

'I specifically asked Beau if he had cigarettes,' Davenport said at the Ennis ISD school board meeting Tuesday, Jan. 14. 'I want to be around people I can trust.'

Williams and his parents both admit the lying was wrong and Beau was punished at home, but they say the school district's policy towards athletes' suspensions is inconsistent.

'If the Ennis [Athletic Code] says players should be held to a higher [standard], then the district should apply it to every athlete,' said Williams' attorney Ross Massengill.

However, because Beau was warned about the consequences of having tobacco products, the board of trustees voted 6-1 to uphold the suspension from the golf team, which will be for the rest of the school year.

'It wasn't worth it,' Beau Williams said. 'He [Davenport] knew of students using tobacco products [in his class room]. It was brought to his attention [before].'

Davenport said he couldn't recall past instances of players using tobacco products in his classroom. Also brought to his attention, according to Davenport, was the fact several EHS golfers brought alcohol and were drunk at a homecoming dance in October of last year.

The punishment later included a reduced sentence in alternative school and an alcohol counseling class - Davenport said those boys are still members of the golf team. An EHS football player was reportedly involved in a verbal confrontation last fall with a teacher, having to be restrained by other students.The player, a star receiver, was suspended for three non-district football games, but was still a member of the Lions' state semi-finalist team. 'It's [punishment] not fair to Beau,' Debra Williams said. 'It's hard to swallow that drinking alcohol and getting drunk at school is [not considered] worse than smoking one cigarette. My kid is not a bad kid. But he shouldn't be punished this extreme.' The Williams family plans to appeal the board's decision and take the issue to 40th District Court where Ennis resident Gene Knize presides.

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