Milwaukie

Parents complain that coach's motivation crossed line into abuse

Parents complain that coach's motivation crossed line into abuse »Play Video
Part of the complaints filed with the North Clackamas School District against a teacher and coach.

MILWAUKIE, Ore. – Parents and students in Milwaukie are complaining that a coach and teacher in their school district crossed the line in the way he treats students and athletes. Frustrated by the situation, one mother turned to KATU for help.

We heard from several parents and kids who said over the years this teacher has verbally and now physically abused kids.

We’re not naming the coach since he has not been formally accused by either police or the district. We are identifying him only as a teacher and coach in the North Clackamas School District.

A group of parents and students, many who have never met each other before, gathered on Friday to talk about their issues.

10-year-old McKenna Weaver described her encounter with the coach.

“He told me to come over to him and he told me to let him talk and give the directions,” she said. “Then he just hit me.”

McKenna’s mom said the coach smacked her upside the head.

“I said ‘did he hit you that hard?’” mother Suzie Weaver said. “She said, ‘yes.’”

Word spread of that alleged incident and Daniel Ryan, who was coached by this teacher in 2010, came forward. Daniel said the coach verbally abused him.

“He would be the one to come and get you. He would yell at you and he would tear you down and you would be a broken person,” he said. “He said your father is dead and you have to be the man of the house. The way you’re playing is not showing that you’re being a man.”

Parents of other former players shared similar stories.

“To my son he said, ‘what’s your IQ? Because you sure seem kind of stupid to me,’” said Deborah Conner.

These parents all said they’ve taken their complaints to school administrators for years but get nowhere.

We called the school district. A spokesperson told us they take all concerns seriously and have investigated; ultimately they determined this teacher still belongs in the classroom.

We also contacted the teacher’s union.

“A lot of people make accusations based on fear, based on misinformation, based on their own prejudices and we believe all of these allegations are unfounded,” said Deborah Barnes, president of the North Clackamas Education Association.

Moreover, Barnes said she personally knows the teacher in question.

“This man is great. I would trust him with my own grandkids. That’s how confident I am,” she said.

At one point the sheriff’s office got involved and has since turned over the case to the district attorney.

The district attorney is reviewing the details of this case and is expected to make a decision about any possible criminal charges soon.

The DA has also received some contradicting statements from students, which makes the case difficult to sort out. They also have to weigh the line between verbal abuse and motivation tactics.

We’ll follow this story and bring you updates once the DA reaches a decision.

More: Look up state records of any teacher in Oregon

We first heard about this story through a tip to our newsroom. If you have a story you’d like us to check out, email newstips@katu.com