7 Louisiana Girls HS Players Kicked Off Team For Complaining That Male Coach Was ‘Touchy Feely’ (With UPDATE)
Seven girls who boycotted their varsity basketball season-opening game were kicked off the team this week by their male coach, Salmen High School's (Slidell, La.) Panos Bountovinas. Why? The girls allege that Bountovinas was exhibiting "inappropriate" behavior, such as touching them in a "touchy feely" way, and lingering in the locker room as they were getting changed.
School administration dismissed their concerns, and the girls responded by boycotting the game. After a 47-45 loss, Bountovinas, with the approval of the school principal, dismissed them from the team.
When they asked why they were dismissed, Principal Brennan McCurley told the girls they weren’t allowed to ask any questions, [Senior Kayla] Sibley said.
UPDATE: McCurley has informed the parents involved that the girls may be reinstated, the decision to be made following the Christmas break.
New Orleans Advocate:
Sibley said she wasn’t comfortable around Bountovinas because he often touched her.
“I felt uncomfortable around him on and off the court because he was very feely. Hand on the shoulders and other places and stuff,” Sibley said. “It made me feel uncomfortable. I never had a touchy-feely coach before. I felt uncomfortable.”
On Tuesday, the seven players chose not to show up for their road game against Cabrini and, instead, attended the boys basketball game at Salmen.
Only five players dressed out for Tuesday’s game.
“They didn’t play because we wanted to get the principal and coach to the table to talk about the issues we have,” said Myles Cooper, a parent of one of the players. “This is not a witch hunt against the coach. We want the best for our kids, and we want our kids safe.”
Sounds reasonable. If this is a straight discipline issue, then the coach has the right to make this call. But here the stakes are much higher. Even though the school says that it's done a "thorough" investigation", it doesn't sound near thorough enough, considering the allegations.
Salmen looks terrible here -- just some weak administrators covering their asses and hoping not to get sued. And "A decision after the holidays" is more than a month away. The basketball season is nearly half over by then. It's all very strange.
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