Hendricks County Flyer, Avon, IN

May 7, 2013

Cascade coaches in the Classrooms; not on the track

Jake Thompson

CLAYTON — Four teachers at the Mill Creek Community School Corporation were notified of their fates after an executive session of the school board Monday night.

Head track coaches Nicholas Puckett and Rosie Fakes, along with assistants Josh Hagenow and Sean Adams, were placed on paid administrative leave.

All four returned to their classrooms on Tuesday, according to a press release from Superintendent Dr. Patrick Spray.

Last week the coaches punished some of their student athletes for missing a practice by having them “bear crawl” around the track. Some of those athletes came away with blisters, burns, and open sores on their hands.

The school corporation immediately opened an investigation and all four coaches were asked to resign their coaching positions.

Spray released the following statement:

 “The corporation investigation regarding the incident at track practice on May 1, 2013, has been completed. After gathering and investigating facts surrounding the incident that occurred, it has been determined that there was no intent to cause harm to students. The teachers have admitted the poor judgment in their decisions on May 1, and have since recognized and taken ownership of their actions.

“These teachers are back in the classroom today (Tuesday) with the focus moving forward on effective teaching and student learning. There was no evidence from the facts gathered or from the teachers’ classroom history that the extra-curricular incident that occurred would carry over to the classroom.

“The coaches accept the consequences of their actions including being relieved of their coaching positions and the public scrutiny that has followed. They also acknowledge that the corporation does not condone reprimands or punishments that result or may result in physical injury as a part of our extracurricular programs.”

Following the incident in question last Wednesday, the school held a parent and athlete meeting on Thursday to discuss the controversy.

The school corporation acted quickly, beginning an investigation. Along with interviews of those involved, the Indiana Department of Child Services was contacted.

Cascade High School Athletic Director Andy Elkins said

former boys’ head track coach Steve Harris and Kale Blickenstaff have taken over coaching duties.

Blickenstaff teaches eighth-grade history at the middle school and Harris has been the boys’ and girls’ cross country coach for four years and had been the boys’ track coach since 2004, until this season.

With the mater now settled, the Cascade boys and girls’ track teams resumed their regular schedule after cancelling the Cascade Relays last Friday. The Cadets hosted county foe Plainfield last night and are set to compete in the West Central Conference meet at 4:30 p.n. Friday at South Putnam High School.