Lockport Union-Sun & Journal Online

February 1, 2013

R-H coach not fired

STAFF REPORTS
Lockport Union-Sun & Journal

Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — Royalton-Hartland girls basketball coach Don Baker has been suspended — and not fired — for the remainder of the 2012-13 basketball season following a Jan. 18 locker room incident at Barker where the team had a scheduled game.

Superintendent of Schools Kevin MacDonald called the incident "extremely sensitive," but details of what occurred were not disclosed by district officials.

Baker was suspended for allegedly failing to report a hazing or bullying incident, which violates an anti-bullying code of conduct and the Dignity For All Students Act.

Sources familiar with the situation told the Union-Sun & Journal that the incident involved no physical contact between players. The incident was brought to MacDonald's attention when School Board President Patricia Reigle informed him.

Reigle said that as an administrator, it was her duty to report the incident. In her explanation to a US&J reporter, Reigle compared it to a hypothetical situation that would also be reported.

That hypothetical situation was perceived by some readers as an inference to what really happened.

MacDonald released the following statement to the media on Friday afternoon:

"In today’s (2/1/13) edition of the Union Sun and Journal is an article about an incident surrounding the Royalton Hartland School District girl’s basketball team. There was a piece in the article that has led to some confusion about what occurred. It was quoted that Board of Education President Patty Riegle said “If someone came up to me and reported that someone got raped in a bathroom, by law I have to tell someone.” This has led people to believe that the incident with the girl’s basketball team involved a rape, which is absolutely untrue. This comment was made to list an example of a type of action that would give rise to mandated reporting but was not made to comment on the nature of the incident itself, in fact the newspaper made a correction in the online version of the story and is going to print a correction in the Saturday, February 2, 2013 edition.

"The Royalton Hartland School District is a district of immense pride, great students, great families and great staff. Those involved have been cooperative throughout the investigation. It is likely every school district in the country has experiences with these events. In the end we are an educational institution where learning takes place sometimes through making mistakes. We will continue to educate our students, staff and community regarding such incidents. We believe all have learned about the seriousness of these incidents, and are firm in our belief that our school community will endure. While we are currently in the media spotlight, I can only hope that others learn from our story, and perhaps it prevents such an incident from occurring elsewhere."