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Kids misled by AHS administration
4/28/2000
By Roger Ainsworth

Kids misled by AHS administration

    During the regular basketball season this year, the Aberdeen ladies played the Tumwater ladies at Sam Benn Gym. Included in the student body section with other students and teammates were three young men from the AHS basketball team who were wearing referee jerseys and standing in the front row, having a great time cheering the ladies on.
    Apparently during the game, there were some rude and lewd comments made toward the Tumwater ladies from a student or students that the Tumwater players believe were in the AHS student body section. These comments were inappropriate and embarrassing to the whole Aberdeen student body.
    The following day at Aberdeen High School, the three young men who were wearing the referee jerseys were singled out (obviously, they stood out a little more than other students in plain clothes) and called into the principal's office and before any of them could get a word in otherwise, they were wrongfully accused, intimidated and interrogated.
    When they finally had their turn to speak, all three emphatically denied the accusations, so they were told by Principle Kathy Barner to bring in anyone they felt was around them who would attest to their behavior.
    That is what they attempted to do. When they left the office, they first ran into my son, Ryan, who had stood next to them during the game for almost three quarters. After hearing what had just happened to them, he offered to go in and tell the administrators that these three guys had not said anything inappropriate and out of the ordinary for a cheering section.

    But when he went in to defend them, he was deemed guilty by association (since he, too, was a member of the boys basketball team) and was never given the opportunity to speak his mind, so he was now also in trouble.
    I joined with some of the other parents of these young men in a meeting the next morning with the principal and Vice Principal Rocky Rocquin that lasted over an hour. We were told that the Tumwater principal had called and told them that they had these three young men wearing the jerseys on video and they could press sexual harassment charges against them. That seemed contrary to the events that really took place since I spoke personally with the principal of Tumwater. He indicated to me that he did not single out any individuals or what they were wearing but was told by Mrs. Barner that she already had 13 potentially responsible kids and the matter was being handled.
    We also did some investigating ourselves and spoke with a number of kids who were right in the area where the comments came from. We were told by all of them that it was not, in fact, our kids and that it was actually some other students.
    After repeated assurances from Mrs. Barner about the confidentiality with which this matter would be dealt with (Mrs. Barner particularly offered a guarantee that mention of the incident would not appear in The Daily World) we asked the administrators to please leave the room and let us speak to our kids alone. We then told our kids that at some point in time, you have to instill some faith in your administrators and let them do their job. Again, we were misled.

    To make a long story short, the AHS administration made no attempt to properly investigate the situation and right the wrong, and purposely twisted the facts, misleading our children and us numerous times. What came out of this was the administration picked these individuals out of the crowd to get their (butts) out of boiling grease in a hurry in order to try to appease the Tumwater administrators, all at the expense of our children's reputation, not only in school and with their coach but also in the community.
    Our kids had their playing time reduced the next game, their names were in The Daily World (and mentioned on the radio) saying they were held out of the game for violating team conduct rules, and worst of all, they were let down and emotionally frazzled from the whole ordeal.
    If there is one good thing that came out of this it was the redirection of the attention from the AHS ladies team to the boys.
    So, I would like to thank the AHS administrators for destroying some qualities we've all tried to instill in our kids. The only thing my son has learned from this is that not all adults can be trusted to do the right thing and the only thing he has to look forward to (about high school) is getting out.
    We're sorry Ryan A., Seth, Ryan K. and Brandon.
    You may think the timing of this letter is a bit late. However, we did feel we should not take a chance with any more consequences toward the boys during the basketball season and remaining school year.

Roger Ainsworth
Westport

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