Cascade High School track coaches accused of delivering overly harsh punishment

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Four track coaches have been placed on administrative leave and asked to resign from coaching after some of their athletes were hurt during practice.

A parent, who didn’t want to be identified, said a handful of Cascade High School students were forced to do bear crawls on their track during Wednesday’s practice as punishment for missing a practice last week.The practice they missed was scheduled the day before prom. The father we spoke with said his son missed practice because he needed to pick up his tux.

A bear crawl is an athletic move where a person places their hands and feet on the ground and crawls. Their knees never touch the ground.

“I don’t know what they were thinking. I’ve been a coach and I’ve done athletics and I understand there needs to be a consequence when you miss practice. And you know, if you want to do the bear crawls, you can do 600 yards as far as I’m concerned on grass, but not on a tar track when it’s 80 degrees outside,” he said.

The father was told some students had to do more laps around the track than others.

“Apparently one coach made the decision to do it and all four coaches talked about it and it was agreed upon that that’s what they would do,” he said.

His son was taken to the ER after practice. He suffered 1st and 2nd degree burns on his hands after being forced to go around the track twice.

“I think (in) this situation, people weren’t thinking well. People make mistakes, but they sure need to live up to their mistakes,” he said.

The father of the track athlete would like to speak with the coaches.

“I just hope that these coaches will see that there’s a line there when it comes to your authority over these students. (I hope the students) will see that, you know, if you think something is wrong, if you think you are being asked to do something that isn’t right then don’t so it,” he said.

Another parent, whose child runs for the track team, said she was surprised and angry about the punishment.

“I send my kid to school to be protected and they did this. It’s not right,” Tammy Rulfs said.

Rulfs said her daughter’s hands hurt.

“I want to see the coaches have to do what the children did,” Rulfs said.

Mill Creek Community School Corporation officials met with track parents on Thursday afternoon. Assistant Superintendent, Dr. Jill Jay said they are investigating the incident. In a statement she said:

“Last night we became aware of an incident involving the boys’ and girls’ high school track team and inappropriate conduct by the team coaches. We immediately began an investigation and interviewed those involved. In addition, our office contacted the Indiana Department of Child Services. We sincerely apologize to the parents and assure them we do not condone, nor will we tolerate this type of behavior from our school employees. We have requested that all four coaches resign from their coaching positions and they have been placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation.”

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