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Geneseo families to address school board after football season forfeited

Parents and family members will have their first opportunity to address the Geneseo School Board since the varsity football team's season was cancelled. (WHAM photo)

Geneseo, N.Y. (WHAM) - Parents and family members had their first opportunity to address the Geneseo School Board since the varsity football team's season was cancelled.

The public meeting was emotional as parents tried to get the season reinstated.

"I'm not questioning the discipline that was handed down, I'm questioning the decision to cancel the season," said one player's father.

"These boys are guilty by association by putting all the focus on the boys who did wrong, instead of the majority who did right," said another's mother.

A week and a half ago, the district chose to end the team's season after one of the players allegedly brought Oxycontin to a Friday night game.

That player, who is not being named by the district, is accused of handing the pills out to six other teammates.

All were kicked off the team, which left the team with fewer players than required to continue their season - ending the careers of players who are seniors, including Nicholas Evangelista.

"I'm totally devastated," said Evangelista, "me and the guys. We've done this since day one, since we were in kindergarten. We built our trust, our bond, our brotherhood all to this point and it's just thrown out for us."

"If you do the right thing you're going to get punished," said Nicholas' mother Amie Evangelista, "and if you do the wrong thing you're still going to get punished, so lets keep it all a secret so you can have your season play out and come to an end. So what message are you sending?"

A few parents and a community member came to the meeting to applaud the board,

"I personally believe the district has done the correct thing here," said one mom.

They agree the opioid crisis is too serious of an issue not to have quick and swift punishment.

"This is not easy, we understand that, but now we need to approach the reason we are in the position we are in right now, and we will start to do that and we have started to do that," said superintendent Timothy Hayes.

"I strongly believe that one of the most difficult and important lessons to learn in life is doing the right thing, is always the right thing," said Board of Education President Jennifer Mehlenbacher, "even when it's difficult, especially when it's difficult and even when it comes at a personal or collective cost."

The district is working with the Genesee/Orleans Council on Alcoholism and Substance Abuse and Strong outpatient clinic to figure out how they can better educate the students and community about opioid addiction.

During a news conference last week, Superintendent Timothy Hayes said some of those not involved are seniors who will not get to play another high school game. He is adamant that he, the athletic director and coaches will do everything in their power to help those athletes who did nothing wrong with college recruitment and potential scholarships.

Hayes said high school graduation will not be affected for those allegedly involved, and that they will still be eligible to play sports in upcoming seasons.

The Geneseo Village Police Department is working with the D.A.'s Office. No criminal charges have been filed at this point.

13WHAM News will continue to update this story as more information comes from the district and families.

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