BUFFALO, N.Y. - Veteran Royalton-Hartland girls basketball coach Don Baker has been fired for not reporting a bullying incident, according to the school district superintendent.
The January 18th incident reportedly happened in the girls locker room during an away game at Barker Central involving some members of the team and a former player.
The incident was reported to coach Baker by a parent the night it happened, but he did not report it to his superiors in a timely fashion as required by law, according to Superintendent Kevin MacDonald.
MacDonald said Baker, a long time coach, has done a wonderful job, but policies and laws regarding these types of incidents have changed and the district has to make sure they are taking them seriously.
School officials met with parents Monday and with team members on Tuesday. MacDonald stressed that besides talking about the results of the investigation, the students were walked through the reasons for the disciplinary action.
"Our hope is that this isn't just a penalty and you move on," said MacDonald., but there's going to be an educational piece to it. He said next week school officials will work with the team on further training to give them the tools on how to handle and prevent incidents like this in the future.
Below is a text of the statement released by the district:
On January 18, 2013 there was an incident that occurred while the Royalton-Hartland girl's basketball team was playing at the Barker Central School District. The incident involved some members of the team and a former player. The incident started in the hallway outside of the girl's locker room and then continued inside the locker room. Further details of the incident will not be released due to various privacy laws.
The district has conducted an investigation surrounding the facts of the incident. All of the student's on the team were interviewed as well as other school personnel. In addition, the Superintendent of Schools, and other school officials have met with the parents and players to share with them the results of the District's investigation and to review applicable District policies and the District Code of Conduct. Disciplinary measures have been taken, however due to Family Educational Rights Privacy Act, the district will not comment on what measures have been taken. It has been determined that the coach is suspended from his basketball coaching duties for the remainder of the girls' basketball season. The district will also provide further training to the team in hopes of providing additional tools to the students so as to avoid any similar incidents in the future.
Royalton-Hartland Central Schools take these incidents seriously, especially in light of recent similar such incidents and the newly enacted Dignity for All Students Act. This has been a very sensitive and emotional time for the team and the district. The district is appreciative of the cooperation it received during the course of the investigation, and it is our hope that we can put this situation behind us and the team is able to finish out its season.