I know there was a bit of confusion on the WDN website over a pair of stories regarding Friday morning’s reinstatement of 7 of 8 St. Paul High School varsity football coaches.
One story posted is a brief that first ran online Friday afternoon and is obviously abbreviated. The second story in the middle of the news page is the more in depth article that ran in print today.
Just in case there’s any confusion, here’s the link to the full news story, photo and letter to parents from St. Paul principal Kate Aceves – St. Paul reinstates 7 of 8 football coaches
Here’s the full text of the story:
St. Paul reinstates 7 of 8 football coaches
Principal considering discipline against team for hazing incident
By Andrew J. Campa, Staff Writer
Posted: 08/27/2010 06:14:45 PM PDT
SANTA FE SPRINGS – Nearly the entire St. Paul High School varsity football coaching staff was reinstated Friday after a school-imposed, eight-day suspension prompted by a joint investigation by the school and the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles into a hazing incident.
In a letter mailed to parents Friday, Principal Kate Aceves wrote that head coach Marijon Ancich and assistant coaches Visko Ancich, Rich Avia Jr., Lou Cabral, Oliver Cepeida, Rich Estrella and Anthony Wilson were reinstated.
One varsity coach was not welcomed back.
That coach is believed to be Juan Gonzalez, a freshman coach from 2005-09 who was promoted to varsity this season. Attempts to contact Gonzalez were not successful. Gonzalez was not present at Friday evening’s St. Paul scrimmage.
Neither Aceves nor anyone affiliated with St. Paul would say if Gonzalez was dismissed.
Aceves said one coach was gone due to a “non-renewal of his contract because of a personnel issue.”
The principal confirmed in her letter that some sort of hazing took place at the school Aug. 14.
“Our investigation concluded that a hazing incident occurred, in violation of the California Education Code 48900 and our school and archdiocesan policies as outlined in the Parent/Student Handbook,” wrote Aceves.
Aceves said she was unable to comment on the type or harshness of the hazing or total number of people involved, saying the involvement of minors
required her to keep it confidential. Aceves said the majority of the football team, including players and coaches, “had some sort of involvement whether as a witness or participant.”
Aceves wrote in her letter: “As a result of the process, the football coaching staff and team will face disciplinary action. The disciplinary action will not include forfeiture of any football games.”
While the coaches were reinstated, Aceves was adamant in saying they weren’t getting off easy.
“I don’t want the community to think just because all of these coaches are back that it’s just a slap on the wrist,” Aceves said. “This football team will face disciplinary action.”
Those actions won’t likely come down until sometime next week.
“There is a personnel policy and procedures outlined in the administrative (guidelines),” Aceves said. “There are some very clear things that will take place.”
Aceves initially suspended the entire varsity coaching staff on Aug. 19 after she became aware of the incident.
She sent a letter to parents on the 19th informing them of the investigation and the suspensions.
The same day she called the Whittier police, which polices Santa Fe Springs. Officers took a “suspicious circumstances” report, Lt. Bill Webster said. Webster said he was not familiar with the status of the investigation.
The next day, Aceves reinstated offensive coordinator Visko Ancich and defensive backs coach Avina.
“I needed to ensure the safety of the players, but I did need some coaching experience on staff,” Aceves said. “I would have loved to reinstate the whole coaching staff but couldn’t.
“Both Visko Ancich and Avina Jr. were cleared after we found they had nothing to do with the hazing.”
Even though some criticized the suspensions as over the top, Aceves said she only had one thought in mind.
“The suspensions were heavy-handed, but I would do them again,” Aceves said. “The safety of the students is the utmost concern of mine. I did not want to take any risk.”
Aceves stated the archdiocese’s role in the investigation has ended. In her letter, she detailed its involvement.
“The Archdiocesan investigators, who are former FBI special agents, assisted us in a review of the matter and interviewed the staff, students and families that were involved,” Aceves wrote.
Tod Tamberg, the archdiocese media relations director, confirmed all interviews were held last week and that the investigation happened in a timely manner.
He said the archdiocese had no further comment.
St. Paul athletic director Casey Morales did not return a call.
Marijon Ancich said he was happy the investigation was over, but was surprised by the whole process.
“I’ve never encountered anything like this before, ever. It was completely befuddling,” Ancich said. “Some of the people involved don’t understand sports and preparing and having players in a condition to compete.”
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