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All Six MHS Football Players Back on Team After One Day & One Game Suspension for Attendance Fixing (Update) Print E-mail
News - Sports
Written by B|V|N Newsroom   
Friday, 26 October 2012 00:00


MADERA - So much for punishment of athletes at Madera High School. All six football players suspended from school and the varsity football team for attendance fixing are back on the team.

The four seniors and two juniors that paid a fellow football player working in the attendance office to clear a massive amount of absences sat out the Edison High School football game last week and were suspended from school for one day. However, this week they were back on the team and played Thursday night in their overwhelming loss to Bullard High School (48-0).

"The discipline is based on board policy. Students were given consequences for their actions as the school deemed appropriate", said Madera Unified Superintendent Gustavo Balderas.

These students athletes have served less time in punishment for conspiring to illegally access a school computer and manipulate records than a student who is caught with a cigarette. According to the Madera Unified School District's Code of Conduct, each student involved should have received a minimum of four weeks of extra-curricular and co-curricular activies ineligibility. These football players received less than one week.


Last week, twenty-eight students at Madera High School were under investigation for "attendance fixing". Many of the students are members of the varsity football and baseball teams. One senior football player working in the administration office has been suspended from school and from the team.
Anthony Martinez, a senior football player, was a teacher's assistant in the high school's administration office and had access to the school's attendance computer. Allegedly he was able to access the attendance database and make changes to student's absences so that they could attend the school's Sadie Hawkins Dance. In doing so, students who were on the "LOP List" (Loss of Privileges) could participate in extra-curricular actives. Many students had over 70 absences each and the teacher's assistant is said to have charged between $5 and $25 per student. 

The fraud was uncovered before the Sanger Football game on October 12 by district security. Martinez was then removed from the football team. The high school's administration has learned that the "attendance fixing" involved as many as 28 kids, friends of the suspected student.

According to our source within the school district, school principal Kent Albertson and athletic director Shane Riddle have tried to keep a lid on the scandal. However, Albertson did contact Madera Unified Superintendent Gustavo Balderas last Friday at the Sanger High/Madera High football game about the first discovery and again last Wednesday afternoon regarding the expansion of the investigation on the 28 other students involved.

Mr. Albertson did not return our call for a comment but did text us via cellular phone last Thursday afternoon saying he would not comment on student discipline or on an on-going investigation.

Madera High's football coach Scott McKinney also did not return our calls. However, McKinney did remove the other six football players involved from the line up for last Friday's game in anticipation of suspensions to members of his team. According to a few parents we spoke with, the loss of these players for a game or two would not constitute a hardship. These parents seem to think suspending the six would not hurt the team, but that it might even be better off without these particular seniors, especially against Edison or Bullard. Unfortunately, Madera High lost both games, although by all accounts not due to the absence of these players.

We were able to reach Madera Unified Trustee Lynn Cogdill who said the board had not been made aware of the scandal. Cogdill said, "It is a shame when trust is stripped from our soul when student TA's have access to change attends records. I hope this youth will learn a lesson that honesty comes in many forms. He will have to earn his integrity back at a painful price. I wonder about ADA funding and the schools credibility."

It is not known if the student also had access to student's grades. Madera Unified is conducting an investigation into this matter.

Madera High's 2012 Homecoming Queen Samantha Tiscareno said in a Facebook posting, "Apparently you get special treatment if you're a starter on the football team."

Here is a little food for thought on this matter.

1. Why were these kids, who were on the loss of privileges list, allowed to play football which is an extra-curricular activity?
2. Did this student TA have his own access code, assigned to him by the district IT department, to the computer he used?
3. If not, how did he gain access to the computer?
4. Who was his supervisor in the office and did he or she give this student their access code to the computer?
5. Has this employee been suspended?

Madera High is 3-6 on the season with one game remaining in regular season. Under Coach Scott McKinney the Coyotes finished 4-6 last year and 3-7 McKinney's first year as head coach. The Coyotes are on track to finish 4-6 this year, their sixth losing season in a row. A loss to the winless Madera South next week may spell the end to McKinney's coaching career at Madera High.

Jack Porter, Jr.
10/16/2012 Published
10/17/2012 Updated
10/19/2012 Updated
10/26/2012 Updated




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