Struthers student returns to school

By William k. Alcorn

‘It was not about winning or losing. It was about our son getting back into school,’ said Lennard Burke Sr.

STRUTHERS — Lennard Burke Jr. returned to his Struthers High School classes Tuesday after serving most of a 10-day suspension for possessing in school a muscle-building supplement containing creatine.

A hearing on Burke’s appeal of the suspension was conducted Feb. 11, and the suspension was rescinded and removed from his school record, said his father, Lennard Burke Sr.

The Burkes received a letter Saturday from schools superintendent Robert Rostan with his decision on the appeal to rescind the suspension.

Rostan refused to comment on the matter.

Burke Sr. said a 10-day suspension could have also produced an expulsion from school, but once the suspension was rescinded, the expulsion also came off the table. Burke Jr. began his suspension Feb. 4.

Burke Sr. said there are still some matters regarding the suspension on both sides to work out.

However, he said his son “went back to school quietly” Tuesday.

“It was not about winning or losing. It was about our son getting back into school. We’re just glad it’s over,” Burke Sr. said.

In the hearing, Burke Sr. said, the issue came down to where the supplement was confiscated from his son, which was in the gym locker room where Burke Sr. said there was no sign banning creatine. The sign was only in the weight room, he said.

The substance confiscated from Burke Jr., 15, by a gym teacher was Creakic Hardcore, a product of MuscleTech.

Burke Sr. said his fight with the school district had nothing to do with the teachers or the school’s authority to set and enforce rules.

“We love our teachers. There are great teachers in the Struthers schools,” he said.

Burke Jr., who is a football player and member of the school’s show choir, took his case public after he was suspended. He contended that creatine is neither a drug nor an over-the-counter medicine and not specifically prohibited by the student handbook, which contains the rules that students must follow.

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