Entertainment & Sports Law
High school football team faces bullying probe over 91-0 blowout
Posted Oct 23, 2013 12:05 PM CDT
By Martha Neil
An undefeated Texas high school football team has had an average 77-point margin of victory at every game this season.
But that's not for lack of efforts by Coach Tim Buchanan to slow down his Aledo High School Bearcats so that their opponents aren't unduly humilitated. "I sit there the whole third and fourth quarter and try to think how I can keep us from scoring," he tells the Star-Telegram.
Nonetheless, the coach has been notified that a parent of a Fort Worth Western Hills student has filed a bullying report over the Bearcats' latest 91-0 at-home victory. Under state law, schools must provide an online form and investigate complaints.
It isn't clear the Bearcats blowout falls within the definition of bullying under the state education code, which is silent on the topic of football, the newspaper notes. The code defines bullying as "engaging in written or verbal expression, expression through electronic means, or physical conduct that occurs on school property, at a school-sponsored or school-related activity … and that has the effect or will have the effect of physically harming a student … or is sufficiently severe, persistent, and pervasive enough that the action or threat creates an intimidating, threatening, or abusive educational environment for a student.”
It appears that the bullying complaint by the parent of a Western Hills player may be the first made against a high school football team in Texas for running up the score.
The coach of Western Hills team, John Naylor, says the Bearcats and their coach did nothing wrong, although playing against them is like running into a buzzsaw.
“I think the game was handled fine,” he told the newspaper. “They’re No. 1 for a reason ... and they’re good sports, and they don’t talk at all. They get after it, and that’s the way football is supposed to be played in Texas.”
Fox News says the complaint lists both teams as victims and points the finger at the Aledo coaching staff.
Buchanan told Fox he pulled his starting players out of the game after the first quarter and eventually put his third string on the field. The clock also ran continuously starting in the third quarter.
Other than tell his players to take a knee, which he felt would not be appropriate, Buchanan said, he's not sure what else he could have done to level the playing field. "I've sat and gone over and over and over it on what we could have done differently. The score could have very easily been 150 to nothing."