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  1. #1
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    Jun 2019
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    Default Filing a Grievance or Lawsuit Against a School District

    My question involves education law in the State of: California

    I am in the process of trying to sue the Santa Clara Unified School district for intimidation and negligence against my sons.
    Im really looking for any next steps suggestions.
    I have completed filing a complaint against the Coach with the District and now have escalated this to the CDE.
    any suggestions is welcome.

    I am an ARAG member and also looking for Limited scope rep.

    regards

    One of the basis is that my son is a varsity player for the school.
    Last season , and I already filed a complaint about this is:
    I had emailed the coach about his playing time, and he responded by pulling my son to the side during a break in practice, and informing my son that if I sent him any more emails about playing time, he would make my son run.

    Another incident is last summer, when my son injured his wrist at summer league game, and he told me son that he is "Weak" for refusing to play and wanting to rest his injury.

    I have several more details of what he did to other players, so I can send more..
    Im sorry for being so passionate about this..
    regards

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
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    1,705

    Default Re: Filing a Grievance or Lawsuit Against a School District

    Quote Quoting jeffg
    View Post
    My question involves education law in the State of: California

    I am in the process of trying to sue the Santa Clara Unified School district for intimidation and negligence against my sons.
    Im really looking for any next steps suggestions.
    I have completed filing a complaint against the Coach with the District and now have escalated this to the CDE.
    any suggestions is welcome.

    I am an ARAG member and also looking for Limited scope rep.

    regards
    Good attorneys do not troll message boards looking for clients.
    Don't make me quote Monty Python at you.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2019
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    4

    Default Re: Filing a Grievance or Lawsuit Against a School District

    Understood and my apologies..first time posting and just looking for some advice..thanks

  4. #4

    Default Re: Filing a Grievance or Lawsuit Against a School District


  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
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    38,734

    Default Re: Filing a Grievance or Lawsuit Against a School District

    if your son was actually injured and the coach pushed him such that the injury was exacerbated, you might have an action for negligence. If there was no real injury and there was not worsening of it by being pushed to play, ya got nothing there.


    all coaches are intimidating to some extent. They do push kids to work harder than most kids think they can. They do push kids to be the best they can and sometimes that comes across as intimidation.


    If you dont think your son is getting playing time commensurate with what you believe his abilities dictate, ask to have him moved back to JV where he will probably get a lot more playing time. He can be the star of the team. I know if a parent intervened for the reasons you have when I attended school, the teammates would have ridiculed him endlessly.

    I dont know what you expect to achieve by suing anybody involved. Not only is a court not going to demand your son getting any specific amount of playing time, it is likely to result in a negative result for your son at school once the court issue is dealt with. . The court not only doesn’t care if you believe he isn’t getting enough playing time, the court will defer to the coaches authority because he is the coach and the coach controls the team. Even a judge understands that.

  6. #6
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    Oct 2014
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    7,429

    Default Re: Filing a Grievance or Lawsuit Against a School District

    Quote Quoting jeffg
    View Post
    My question involves education law in the State of: California

    I am in the process of trying to sue the Santa Clara Unified School district for intimidation and negligence against my sons.
    Based simply one what you've said here I see no basis for a successful lawsuit. You mentioned only two incidents, one in which you complained about the amount of playing time your kid was getting and the coach told your kid if he got more e-mails like that he'd make your kid want to "run." The other was calling your kid "weak" for not playing through an injury. While you may not like how the coach spoke to your kids in those two incidents, those aren't things for which you can sue. And even if they were, you've not mentioned what damages your kids suffered from it (e.g. medical/therapy bills, etc). Being upset or angry about the comments gets you nothing. The law doesn't require people to be nice and the courts do not act as enforcers of etiquette.

    You also cannot sue for what the coach did to any other kids.

    Feel free, however, to consult a personal injury lawyer or two to see what they say. Most give free initial consultations. Just don't be surprised if they do end up telling you there is nothing worth pursuing.

    Filing complaints with the district and state department of education as you have already done seem to me to be all you can really do in this instance.

    I would also suggest that when it comes to sports, you not be one of those parents — and there are a lot of them these days — that tries to tell the coach how to coach your kids. The coach has to deal with all the kids on the team, not just your kid, and having all the parents each telling the coach how to do things gets frustrating for the coach real fast. You may want your kid to get more playing time, for example, but that may not be what is best for the team. If the kid wants more play time, let him earn it. Let the kid ask the coach what it would take to get more time. Part of team sports is learning things like how to be a member of team to work towards a common goal and learning that you don't always get things your way, like getting as much play time as you want. Being passionate can cross over to being interfering and controlling, which does your kid no favors.

  7. #7
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    Jun 2014
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    3,082

    Default Re: Filing a Grievance or Lawsuit Against a School District

    You are not being a good example for your sons. You need to teach them how to play well with others. You do that by supporting the coach, team and your sons. You do that by not being critical of others.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2019
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    4

    Default Re: Filing a Grievance or Lawsuit Against a School District

    Hi All,
    Thank you for all your replies:
    1). First, I have done nothing but teach them to be good teammates. BUT more importantly, I have taught them to STAND up for themselves and NOT swallow everything someone verbally abuses you. Why should I? The coach is verbally abusive and intimidates, and I should tell my sons to say "Thank you sir"?
    2). Where is it written ANYWHERE that its OK for A COACH to tell a player: " if I get anymore emails from your Dad, I will make you run". So , THATS OK? So everyone here is saying, " ITS OK" to get that sort of language and just tell your son, " ITS OK to be threatened"

    3). They HEARD ALL the SPIEL about dedication and teamwork from this coach, and they busted their butts for it whole year last year, through Summer league. And what was their reward? Ill tell you: The coach takes back into the team 2 players who QUIT on the team previous year, players who quit because they said it was TOO HARD to play. And what happens? These players ( not very good anyways) get to play more minutes than my sons who worked twice as hard.

    4). ok, so now, lets get back to playing time: How do you earn it? by showing it in practice. Ok So, in one practice , my son was dominating practice, and the coach asks him " Why dont you do that in the game"? and my son replies" Coz YOU DONT PUT ME IN!" . So, my son should have stayed quiet, and said " Im sorry sir"?

    5). Another comment here is im doing more harm than good: And how is that? Im fighting for my son's rights ( how smaill that may be) and ensuring that he does not get verbally abused, and after all,. THIS IS STILL a SCHOOL and an educator's job is TO educate AND MOTIVATE a student. And the coach is in some form,. an EDUCATOR, is he not? So, threatening my son with physical punishment is MENTALLY toughening him up? hmmm.
    I have played college ball and coached at many levels, and have seen many coaches, and I have NEVER seen a coach threaten a player. I guess this coach MUST be a different breed.

    6). At one instance, last season, a player played badly and was nervous, and he dropped the F bomb on the player . telling him he will never be any good. I have it all documented. So, the coach was MERELY mentally toughening up the player I guess?

    I get what everyone here is trying to say, play by the rules, support the coach ( and for awhile, the longest time, I DID, even setting up emails for him and doing the time clock/shot clocks for his games), but when i saw what he was, the kind of person he is, which is vindictive, I said enough.

    You all here can judge me, but until you have experienced what I have, and seen what I have, you will understand why I feel this way.

    sorry, this forum only allows me 5 posst for 24 hours...

  9. #9
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    Mar 2013
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    Default Re: Filing a Grievance or Lawsuit Against a School District

    I think what everyone is trying to tell you is, it's the coach (and not you) who is responsible for the overall operation of the team. That entitles him to run the team as he sees fit, provided that he operates within the law, school policy and any specific direction given him by his immediate supervisor. To make him follow your direction requires that he be held personally accountable for the decisions of someone other than himself. That is unreasonable. What happens when another parent doesn't like the direction you have given, and want's the coach disciplines for following it? How does he defend himself? In government employment (which this is), if the handling of a matter is not specifically dictated by the law, rules or direction, employees are generally given the latitude to do their job as they see fit. That's what sounds like is happening here.

    If you believe the coach has engaged in misconduct, make a personnel complaint citing the law, policy or rule he has violated. If his conduct is merely in conflict with your personal philosophy, don't count on anything happening, because no matter what course of action someone takes, there will always be another person who will insist there was a better way. Complaints of that nature usually are usually ignored, because they conflict with the policy of giving employees the latitude of running their operations as they see fit, provided handling of the event is not dictated by law, rule or policy.

  10. #10
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    Sep 2005
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    Default Re: Filing a Grievance or Lawsuit Against a School District

    As an educator and the father of four sons who have engaged in high school sports as starters and even state ranked through 2018 (when my youngest graduated), with one who went onto college football, let me say that nothing you have thus far mentioned sounds actionable. I have seen good coaches, and poor coaches, during my children's time in sports, but one thing most of them had in common was that they ran things their own way. Yes, they can make a student run because of the actions of a parent. yes, they can bench them because the parents is being a royal pain in the tailpipe. Yes, they can keep a kid on the bench after bringing them up from JV. No, high school does NOT have any minimum play time like may youth football and little league programs. No, you cannot force the coach to drop them back to JV, be nice, play your child, or any of a host of other things.

    To address your specific concerns ...

    (1) and (2) ... No, your child doesn't have to take the verbal abuse. But, he also does not have a RIGHT to be on the team or to get any play time even if he is on the team. Speaking up to a coach is, typically, a good way to get benched and stay there. If he does not like the treatment he is receiving, he can quit. Or, if the "abuse" is beyond acceptable norms pursuant to school or league rules, he can complain to the administration of the school.

    (3) ... Life isn't fair. Yeah, some kids who bust their behinds will sit the bench while a prima dona who apparently violated the team's rules gets to play or gets to start in a cherished position. It sucks, it's not fair, but it's also not against the law, actionable, or even (generally) a violation of any rules. These scenarios happened to two of my sons, and it sucked. But, there was quite literally nothing I could do about it, and if I had tried, they would probably have sat out their junior years on the bench in football.

    (4) ... See #3.

    (5) ... Yes, you are likely doing more harm than good. The coach doesn't have to listen to you, and if he feels that you are disrupting his team, his player, or just him, he can respond. Too often that response comes in the form of penalties for the child, but, that's not generally actionable or unlawful. The coach does not have to justify why your child is being benched or chewed out.

    (6) ... And, yes, sometimes coaches can behave look boors. No, they shouldn't demean a student, but, it happens. It's something that can be brought up with the school administration, but it won't help your son's playtime - or anyone else's. And anyone who has been involved in sports - particularly a quality program - will have either witnessed or been on the receiving end of some vitriolic statement.

    The bottom line is that the coach has a lot of leeway in how he runs his team. You have no right to input on how he runs the team. if you feel the coach is misbehaving, you can complain to the administration. But, as for grounds for any kind of a lawsuit? Nope.
    **********
    Retired Cal Cop Sergeant & Teacher

    Seek justice,
    Love mercy,
    Walk humbly with your God

    -- Courageous, by Casting Crowns ... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pkM-gDcmJeM

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