Last week we highlighted the true costs of winning at all costs by delving into the troubled athletic program at East Central High School. Accusations of sex in locker rooms, drug use by coaches, and teachers changing or issuing passing grades to student athletes were just a few of the horrific things we found in our reporting.
In the days since, the community response has been remarkable. We’ve received numerous emails from concerned citizens detailing their own experiences with the District. A number of former students, parents, and even faculty chimed in about the corrosive culture that is East Central Athletics. One email we received in particular was heart wrenching. It is the tale of a father trying to protect his son from the savages. It’s a tale of true despair, helplessness, and hopelessness. It’s a classic tale of good vs evil, the strong preying on the weak.
Where does one even begin after reading this email. My emotions go into a tailspin each and every time I read it; Anger, sadness, disgust, disbelief, sympathy, repulsion immediately come to mind to name a few. I’m seething as these words hit the page.
My mind immediately races to images of my own children, nieces, and nephews. As a man we have the express duty to PROVIDE for and to PROTECT them. That god given sense of duty was stripped from this individual by the East Central Independent School District. We can only hope that the La Vernia Independent School District has learned from their lack of oversight and will protect this man’s remaining son.
We were able to confirm that the parent in the email did have a meeting with school administrators in the time frame given. We can not however confirm the nature of the meeting. We are currently awaiting confirmation of his complaint with the Texas Education Agency and documentation detailing the nature of his complaint. We have also reached out to the Texas Rangers to confirm that claim.
The issues we have raised are scandalous and mercurial by nature as they relate to our children, who are the true victims. Let’s not forgot Alicia Lair, the East Central High School teacher and coach that resigned last year following allegations of an inappropriate relationship with a student. Do we call it a scandal? I don’t know if I’m willing to go that far just yet but parallels can definitely be drawn to the scandal of Olympic gymnastics coach Larry Nassar.
Michigan State University in the face of scandal acted responsibly and heads have begun to roll. President Lou Anna Simon is GONE. Athletic director Mark Hollis is GONE. The United States Olympic Committee understands the magnitude of the situation and has acted even MORE decisively. After an ultimatum by the U.S. Olympic Committee, USA Gymnastics said Friday it will comply with a DEMAND for its entire board of directors to resign within a week over handling of the Larry Nassar sex-abuse scandal.
We reached out to District 3 City Councilwoman Rebecca Viagrin, District 2 City Councilman Cruz Shaw, District 119 House Rep Roland Gutierrez, and District 120 House Rep Barbara Gervin-Hawkins for comment.
District 2 City Councilman Cruz Shaw was the only one who felt compelled to speak out.
“I was troubled to read about some of the concerns shared by some parents of East Central High School students. Leadership from East Central ISD reached out to our office to inform us that all concerns raised have been investigated, but I understand that many parents are left with questions and lingering concerns.
Above all else, our children should be in safe environments that are conducive to their growth in knowledge and in character. If at any time parents or students feel as though that is not the case, it is important that these concerns are voiced. There is strength in numbers - our parents should join together and begin attending school board meetings, joining the PTA, and calling/emailing school leadership in any case where they are concerned that their children’s safety or ability to learn is jeopardized.
School board members are elected, so this reminds us of the power of the vote. Our community should hold school board members accountable the same way we hold other elected officials’ feet to the fire when it comes to issues that mean the most…and our children’s safety should be at the top of the list.
I remain committed to working to protect our children and working to ensure they are receiving the resources and commitment they deserve”.