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Friday October 24th 2014

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Does your child have an abusive high school coach? Tell us about it

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Last month a video shown on ESPN led to the firing of the Rutgers men’s basketball coach, Mike Rice. In the video Rice is seen yelling homophobic slurs at his players, kicking them, grabbing them and shoving them. He also throws basketballs at their legs, their heads and their bodies from point-blank range.

Since then, the Independent News has heard from parents about abuse by Escambia County high school coaches that are as bad, or worse, than Rice’s actions. The abuse is a form of bullying and is outlawed by Florida law.

Bullying consists of repeated* systematic abuse and harassment of a person or persons by another. Bullying is characterized by seven elements:

1. A desire to hurt or harm others motivates the perpetrator.
2. This desire to hurt or harm results in hurtful or harmful action(s) taken by the perpetrator.
3. A formal or informal power imbalance exists between the perpetrator and the victim.
4. The action(s) taken by the perpetrator are manifestations of the unjust use of power.
5. The perpetrator enjoys carrying out the action(s).
6. The victim has a sense of being oppressed.
7. The perpetrator typically repeats the hurtful or harmful action(s) against the victim.

• It is vital to understand that a single incident may meet this definition if it is serious, violates criminal law, or involves unreasonable harm to the victim.

A parents have told us of athletic directors and principals that have refused to take their complaints seriously and that they live in fear of retaliation for reporting the abuse. The school district administration appears to be concerned about keeping it quiet than the safety of the students.

We want to hear from you. You can email directly: Rick@inweekly.net. All initial interviews will be confidential and nothing will used without your permission. If you ask to remain anonymous, that is fine, too.