Sports coaches, especially at the high school level, are there to teach and to provide students with a positive experience they can take with them for the rest of their lives. This goal, however, often gets lost in the coaches zeal to win and be successful, often resulting in a coach being unseeingly harsh towards his players at times.
While these instances are not the norm, reports of coaches bulling their players do pop up from time to time. Such is the case of the parent of a player on the Stephen Decatur (Berlin, Md.) baseball team who took to their local newspaper to call out their child’s coaches as being bullies.
This parent, James "Tony" DiBuo, of Bishopville, took out a full-page ad in a local newspaper to accuse coaches of bullying. In the ad, DiBuo accuses Principal Lou Taylor of allowing "this type of culture to exist for many years," saying students who reported a coach's bullying behavior were punished with a loss of playing time — and that such bullying incidents "have been covered up by the administration" at SDHS.
In a statement made by the group, Parents Against Bullying of Worcester county, the group claims the assistant coach and head coach of the high school's baseball team "verbally abused and degraded" some players, and that some students did not try out for the team this year because of mistreatment.
"A good coach can drive a player to develop skills of their particular sport," the statement says. "They never cross the line of verbally abusing, cursing or using demeaning statements toward their players."
It goes on to say "coaches and teachers that are allowed to continually abuse students through angry outbursts, swearing, hurtful comments and sarcasm, put the future of our students at risk," and "these are primitive behaviors and we as a community must stop it."
In a statement made in response to these allegations, Principal Taylor said that neither he nor the school condones bullying of any kind.
"If someone reports an alleged case of bullying, I can tell you that it will be thoroughly investigated and dealt with," he said. "We want our young people to thrive and prosper, and they do. I want to assure our parents and community that here at Decatur — and at all of our schools — we promote a positive learning environment."
This statement was echoed by Barb Witherow, spokeswoman for Worcester County public schools.
"We applaud the efforts by parents and by community and business members to help eradicate bullying in our communities and schools; it takes a united front to eliminate bullying," she said.
Witherow also went on to say that school administrators, counselors, teachers and staff numbers reinforce bullying awareness and prevention during orientation sessions at the start of each school year and throughout the school year.
Witherow concluded by stressing that Stephen Decatur administrators have investigated all the allegations of bullying as outlined in the note. She declined to say what results any such investigation may have yielded, if any, citing privacy concerns for teachers and students.
The man who started all of this with the newspaper ad, James DiBuo, declined to comment further on the issue, saying he didn't have enough time at the moment to address the full scope of the issue.
Photo Credit: AP
James LeBeau is a sports contributor for CraveOnline Sports and you can follow him on Twitter @JleBeau76 or subscribe on Facebook.com/CraveOnlineSports.