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Cascade track coaches won’t be fired after ‘bear crawl’ controversy

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Cascade High School track coaches admit they exercised poor judgment when they disciplined students, but they will not be fired, the school district said in a statement Tuesday.

The coaches, who have been relieved of their duties, will remain with the district as teachers.

In a statement released Tuesday morning, the Mill Creek Community School Corporation said its investigation into the incident has concluded and the coaches did not set out to injure anyone.

The controversy began on May 1, when students who missed practice the week before were forced to do “bear crawls” on a hot track. Some of the students ended up with blisters on their hands; others suffered first- and second-degree burns. The practice the students missed was the day before prom.

Four coaches were placed on administrative leave following the incident. They have been relieved of their duties but will remain with the district as teachers.

In a statement, the school said the coaches admitted they exercised “poor judgment.” They will remain with the school as teachers because they have “recognized and taken ownership of their actions.” The school didn’t anticipate any carryover in the classroom from the incident.

“The coaches accept the consequences of their actions including being relieved of their coaching positions and the public scrutiny that followed,” the school wrote in a statement. “They also acknowledge that the school corporation does not condone reprimands or punishments that result or may result in physical injury as part of our extracurricular programs.”