Millstone officials adjust sports code of conduct to include social media

MILLSTONE – Municipal officials in Millstone Township have amended the code of conduct that governs the behavior of adult participants in the township’s sports organizations to ensure they demonstrate proper conduct on social media and to establish a procedure for when the code of conduct is violated.

During a recent meeting, the Township Committee adopted an ordinance amending the code of conduct so the code now states participants, parents or legal guardians of minor participants, coaches and officials of every township sports organization pledges to be responsible for their words or actions, including actions on social media, in electronic communications and anything similar.

Previously, the ordinance stated that participants would follow the code of conduct while attending, coaching or participating in a township sports event.

The ordinance now states that if a violation occurs, sports event officials will immediately report the violation to the recreation coordinator and to the sports recreation commission liaison. There is an appeal process for an individual who receives a penalty resulting from a violation.

Under the amended ordinance, it is no longer mandatory for any parent, league official, coach or spectator who is banned from a township sports event for violating the code of conduct to complete an anger management or equivalent counseling program at his/her own expense.

Instead, the Code of Conduct Committee will have sole discretion over determining if the participant must complete such a program.

The amended ordinance also requires a coach, parent, player, spectator, league official or other township sports event attendee to receive approval from the Code of Conduct Committee to attend, coach, officiate or participate in a township sports event after being banned under certain conditions.

Prior to the ordinance’s adoption, Committeeman Gary Dorfman said, “The recreation programs in our community (have excellent) participation. We had about 1,200 participant registrations in 2018. All of those programs are administered by volunteers; community volunteers, coaches, parents and other participants. We are thankful for all of their help in making these programs run.

“Part of the participation in our programs involves agreement to a code of conduct on the part of the coaches,” he said. “This change to the code of conduct is specifically in two areas, one of which extends appropriate responsibility to coaches about what they can communicate on social media, and the second part is a change regarding if somebody is in violation, how does the Recreation Commission manage that violation to a conclusion.”