UPDATE: Eric Baymon suspended from G-AHS classes; residency rules reviewed
School officials acted swiftly when they learned a Greencastle-Antrim High School senior had been arrested Sunday, Feb. 21 in connection with an 11 p.m. armed robbery in Hagerstown, Md.
Principal Ed Rife said the administration learned Tuesday morning that Eric Baymon, who turned 18 the next day, had been charged with multiple offenses for an attempted robbery at Nadia's Convenience Store on West Franklin Street. He and Dennis Marshall, 16, both identified by police as Hagerstown residents, were caught by city police there when they fled the scene after a squad car pulled into the parking lot.
Though school was not in session Tuesday due to a snowfall, Rife said once the information came in administrators took immediate action. Baymon's parents were called and notified that their son was suspended from the basketball team and was not allowed on school property until further notice.
Baymon was a point guard on the Blue Devils varsity basketball team for the past two years. He did not play in G-A's opening district game Tuesday night in Harrisburg. He also had not attended practice on Monday. Baymon's educational status is in limbo pending results of his case as it proceeds through the Washington County District Court system. His preliminary hearing is March 3.
"I'm disappointed this happened," Rife said. "Now we want to move forward and focus on the positive, the successes of our basketball team and the other great things our students are doing."
Who lives where?
No school official could comment specifically on Baymon’s residency due to privacy issues.
Police records stated Baymon lived at 411 S. Potomac St. in Hagerstown. Students from out of the G-A school district must have proof of residency in order to attend classes in Greencastle. Rife and other school personnel were convinced Baymon had a legitimate Greencastle address, as did all other students enrolled in the school system. Only a few children from other communities paid tuition, and they were approved by the school board.
Debbie Timmons, administrative secretary to superintendent Dr. C. Gregory Hoover, coordinates student registrations, and each building on campus has an enrollment secretary who does the initial paperwork. Each family must present two proofs of residency, which is often a utility bill and a copy of a lease or property deed.
If parents did not live in Greencastle or Antrim Township, sometimes they signed over their rights, in which case legal affidavits were filed naming who in the district had guardianship of the student. Timmons said thataffected only a handful of students.
She added that a second method of ensuring all students were legally enrolled was to review the emergency contact cards on file. If an address was not local, the school followed up.
"I hope people are honest," she said. "We don't question them unless we have other suspicions that someone isn't here legally."
It was not a frequent occurrence that any family had to reprove their residency, she stated.
The G-ASD truancy officer does the legwork if administration needs to know the validity of an address. Cheryl Morgan said her job description was to address attendance issues, but on occasion she went to particular addresses to see if people lived there or the house was vacant.
"I knock on the door," she said. "Most of the time, no one answers. With the economy tanked, people are moving left and right."
Any information she obtains is turned over to the administration to act upon. All students enrolled in the district should be at a known address.
"They should be sleeping there at night," said Rife.