Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Kids pay the price when adults behave badly

From page A12 | February 16, 2014 | 15 Comments

Wow. Just when we thought we’d seen everything in Davis, a sordid tale of adults behaving badly has been unfolding for the past week. And who’s being hurt the most? Why, the kids, of course.

The first victim was Emma Peterson, who lost the chance to play her senior season in the sport she loves. And the next victims are prospective members of the Davis High School boys volleyball team, whose tryouts were canceled at the 11th hour and whose season is now in jeopardy.

And it’s all because adults in positions of power and influence can’t seem to get along.

IN THIS CORNER, we have a school board member who has waged a relentless campaign to oust Julie Crawford as boys and girls volleyball coach. Trustee Nancy Peterson has lodged a litany of complaints with district administrators about the coach’s alleged indiscretions and she’s participated in votes concerning Crawford’s status, despite the fact that she has (or had) children on the teams. Finally, Peterson had the good sense to recuse herself Thursday morning from deliberations on the coach’s fate.

And in this corner, we have a coach who has plenty of vocal supporters but who took the unwise step of cutting her chief critic’s daughter — a varsity player since her sophomore year — from the team roster last fall. Dr. Rob Peterson, Nancy’s husband, filed a formal complaint, and a school district investigation found that Crawford indeed had retaliated against Nancy by leaving her daughter off the team roster.

Plenty of Davis parents gripe about their children being cut from sports teams or about coaches making decisions not to their liking. Do those complaints advance very far? Not usually. But in this case, the complaints were coming from a Davis school board member, and that is key to this entire brouhaha: School district administrators paid attention to Peterson because she’s their boss.

BUT IT’S NOT just Peterson and Crawford who are to blame. It takes more than a couple of people to create a mess this big.

Take district administrators: While they did investigate Peterson’s concerns about Crawford’s coaching decisions — and concluded that policies were violated — they did nothing with that information for more than two months. Meanwhile, the DHS athletic director and principal were making plans to rehire Crawford for the spring season, and the coach was hosting open-gym practices in preparation.

Were Davis High site administrators not made aware of the investigation and its findings? Was Crawford not told that an investigator found she “did not display the core ethical values of trustworthiness, respect and responsibility” set forth in the school’s handbook for coaches?

And lastly, the buck stops with the Board of Education. This is the second public go-round regarding Crawford’s coaching future, and she’s just one of several such controversies at the high school over the past four years. The board needs to clearly define the decision-making hierarchy concerning athletics, and stick to it.

FOLLOWING THURSDAY’S three-hour closed session, board President Gina Daleiden encouraged the warring parties to “come together to find a reasonable resolution that is in the best interest of the students and the school district.”

We’re not sure that’s possible at this point, but we can always hope. Remember, the kids are the ones who are being hurt.


Discussion | 15 comments

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  • Volleyball parentFebruary 14, 2014 - 8:57 am

    I am not sure which "parties" is Gina Daleiden is talking about. Who exactly should "come together and find reasonable resolution"?

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  • February 14, 2014 - 9:08 am

    Site administrators are regularly excluded from district information regarding athletics. This lack of communication is a concern. I am sure that both the AD and principal would not have moved forward if they were aware of said information.

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  • February 16, 2014 - 6:38 am

    "they found that Crawford indeed had retaliated against Nancy by leaving her daughter off the team roster." This is so wrong, the investigator didn't "indeed" find that Crawford had retaliated, it was found that she "more likely than not" had which is a far far cry from "indeed". Can you imagine being convicted of a crime where your jury decided that you more likely than not were guilty?

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  • greg johnsonFebruary 16, 2014 - 10:19 am

    Let's face it. This is yet another example of manipulation and abuse of power (no names mentioned) that happens so frequently, especially in this town.

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  • Josh FaintFebruary 16, 2014 - 12:01 pm

    Wasn't the "investigator" hired by the Mr. Peterson? How can the conclusion of the "investigator" be seen as independent? I'm no journalist but that seems like an important question to ask, no?

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  • OBDFebruary 16, 2014 - 12:34 pm

    "The first victim was Emma Peterson". How do we know this, because her Mom is disgruntled? Thousands of kids get cut every month from athletic teams, it is a part of growing up and becoming an adult. Citizens have not seen the supposed "investigative" letter, and who hired this lawyer? If it was the school district, then a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request would tell us how much the District paid him, how long the investigation lasted, etc.Recently, Leigh Whitmire Choate posted some comments on another website claiming to have witnessed said player not follow her coaches direction, and not act respectfully towards her coach. Leigh Whitmire Choate was apparently the former volleyball coach, and wrote a long and informative piece detailing some of the issues and complexities in being a coach. It seemed very balanced. Chaote claims that Nancy Peterson in 2010 wanted an assistant coach removed, and wanted the job herself. Nancy Peterson may have also wanted to coach for Coach Crawford. If The Enterprise could interview Ms. Choate, I think it could shed some new light on the situation. If what she said is true, then there appears to have been an axe to grind before Coach Crawford even arrived on the scene.

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  • Disgusted All AroundFebruary 17, 2014 - 7:38 am

    Wow. If Leigh Whitmire Choate did in fact write these things on another website about a child then she is as disgusting as all of the other adults involved in this fiasco. It's not ok to attack children.

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  • OBDFebruary 16, 2014 - 12:42 pm

    P.S. I find it preposterous that there was some huge unattended issue with "t-shirts" that Coach Crawford is now guilty of. It sounds like temporary coach Rob Cole was trying to pile on the current situation. Better to be positive and professional. Besides, when a coach is blindsided by an unexpected removal, press, calls and texts and emails from the community, players, parents, and supporters, I doubt the first thing on her mind is carrying water for Nancy Peterson's coach-in-waiting.

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  • VB PlayerFebruary 16, 2014 - 3:19 pm

    Speaking of adults behaving badly, who started writing the op-eds for the Enterprise a few weeks ago. The change has been tacky, in my opinion. Get rid of your "cheers and jeers" and go back to intelligent commentary that is appropriate for Davis readers. Also agreed that "Crawford indeed had retaliated" is not factual. If the Enterprise is going to make assertions like that then they should be willing to back it up with proof by publishing the entire investigation results and letting the readers decide for themselves. When the only part published said "more likely than not" then going so far as to say that Crawford "indeed had retaliated" is libelous. Enterprise, you may want to retract your statement.

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  • Rich RifkinFebruary 16, 2014 - 4:01 pm

    VBP: you need to re-read that line in the editorial. It says that school district administrators found that Crawford indeed had retaliated against Nancy. Yet you have accused the Enterprise of agreeing with that conclusion. Your accusation is mistaken.

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  • February 16, 2014 - 4:42 pm

    I see your point Rich Rifkin, from what we've been led to believe then the line maybe should read "Dr. Rob Peterson, Nancy’s husband, persuaded school district administrators to listen and investigate, and they found that Crawford 'more likely than not' had retaliated against Nancy by leaving her daughter off the team roster." Do you agree? If the school district administrators had definitive proof to make it 'indeed' it hasn't been reported yet as I have seen.

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  • VB PlayerFebruary 16, 2014 - 5:45 pm

    Thanks Rich, but I can read just fine. The Enterprise inserted the wording that they wanted, not what was reported by the school district. In fact, the primary source was Dr. Robert Peterson selectively reading from parts of the investigation that had been given to him from the district, and the phrasing was quite different. The Enterprise certainly makes an opinion in this Opinion piece that Julie Crawford is to blame. My point, which is shared by many others, is that Julie Crawford was bullied into a corner by Nancy Peterson, she still did the right thing for her team by cutting a problematic player, and The Enterprise is doing the wrong thing by condemning her in an opinion piece. Save the semantics, just agree with me on the overall point I'm making, I know you want to.

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  • OBDFebruary 16, 2014 - 3:47 pm

    This supposed "investigation" is apparently part investigation, part opinion. A professional investigator would say that they found x, y, and z. "Bill worked 3 days a week, and showed up 15 minutes late every day." Those are facts derived from an investigation. Concluding retaliation was a cause "more likely than not" is an OPINION. I'd like to see the school district authorization for hiring the "investigator".

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  • Napoleon Pig IVFebruary 17, 2014 - 12:25 pm

    Now, now, now. . . What's all the fuss about. Politicians are supposed to abuse their power and entitled parents are supposed to demand easier standards for their entitled children. This is the brilliance of proper government - content sheep with no accountability for the pigs and dogs.One teacher being treated unfairly is no big deal. Stop your whining and get back to work.

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  • February 17, 2014 - 1:35 pm

    Right on, Napoleon Pig IV.

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