Investigation ongoing into KMS 8th grade basketball complaint

By on December 5, 2008

by Mike Slodki

            The Kane County State’s Attorney’s Office is investigating a complaint filed against a Kaneland Middle School coach by the parents of a student-athlete following an incident at the school on Nov. 12.

            According to Det. Paul Warren of the Kane County Sheriff’s Department, the incident took place between a coach and a player during an eighth grade basketball practice.

            The names of all parties involved were withheld due to the ongoing investigation.

            The complaint stated that the coach pushed the student against a padded wall forcefully. The parents questioned their son about the incident before he told them about being pushed, according to the report.

            The parents later gave Det. Warren a copy of a typed statement by the student.

            According to Warren, the parents had already talked to Kaneland Middle School’s principal and assistant principal, Rick Burchell and Maureen Frawley, and gave them copies of the letter.

            Warren interviewed four students said to be with their teammate at the time of the incident. The detective asked the students to demonstrate on him how hard the victim had been pushed.

            One student gave a detailed description and demonstration of the incident  and said he was surprised by it. Another student said the coach placed his hands on the player because he was yelling at a teammate. The coach then gently pushed back using his hands and gave the team the look to be quiet, according to the student.

            Two more students said they did not see anyone get pushed, and one of those said he first heard of the incident through a text message.

            According to the report, an assistant coach was present but said he did not see an incident.

            On Nov. 14, Warren met with the mother and the player at the KHS gym to demonstrate the incident. The player said he and several other people were yelling about an open player. He said the coach pushed him against the wall and was told to “shut up.”

            Warren received a letter from the coach, who admitted to placing his hand on the player’s shoulder to remove him from the court when he was yelling at another player. The coach said he was trying to move the player from the court, and demonstrate to the player that his role was to coach and the player’s was to play.

            The coach told Warren that he wanted to cooperate completely and get back to coaching, and his gesture at practice was not meant to embarrass or cause injury to anyone.

            On Nov. 17, the detective received a letter signed by 18 of the 20 members of the team saying they wanted the coach to remain in a coaching position. After investigating, Warren referred the family that filed the complaint to the State’s Attorney’s Office.

            Kaneland assistant superintendent for human resources Jeff Schuler said the district cannot discuss anything personnel-related, but said the district was aware of the incident, investigated it and took the appropriate action. Burchell said he was not able to comment on matters of personnel.