Ever heard of a coach fired for making kids run laps? It just happened.
Todd Kennedy, the football coach of Durham Middlefield football team, said he was dismissed after he disciplined one of the children who repeatedly bullied other students — his punishment being a few laps around the field.
The bullying incident occurred at school. Kennedy’s team comprised kids in grades 4 through 6 and two of his own sons were on the team as well. Kennedy claimed he first warned the entire team that he would not sanction bullying, but when he saw one of the players harassing a teammate again, he told him to run a few laps. The coach said he later praised the boy for enduring his punishment without complaint.
But that did not stop youth football and cheerleading board from reprimanding Kennedy for his actions.
“They said, ‘Well, why did you feel you were qualified to handle this bullying incident?’ I’m like, ‘Well, because I’m a father,” Kennedy said.
The justification did not sit well with the league, which suspended him on Monday from his volunteer role, despite Kennedy saying they did not train him on how to handle bullying situations. As a result, the football coach removed his sons from the team as well.
He also said that if his own sons were bullying someone, he would have no issues with another coach disciplining them the way he did.
In protest of the way the league botched the handling of the situation, at least one another person has pulled their son off the team.
“Bullying is OK — that’s the message I got,” said Shannon Riso. “That’s why my son is not going to play for them. I want him to be around better role models than that.”
Clearly, the league went overboard by meting out “justice.” Kennedy might have overstepped his jurisdiction by handling an incident that occurred in school, but the board was also not right to dismiss him for doling out such a light punishment for bullying — incidents of which are becoming more and more horrific around the world.
Just this week, a Texan boy, who wears a hearing aid and has a lisp, was playing in the field when two boys poured gasoline on his head and lit him on fire. The boy is now in a medically induced coma and is fighting for his life.
In Bradford, England, a young Asian boy hanged himself just hours after telling his mother he wanted to switch schools. According to the police, a group of high school students would force him to lie on the ground and took turns kicking him.
In light of these appalling bullying incidents, it’s no wonder Kennedy decided to take action and discipline the student. It would behoove the school where the incident took place to fully investigate into the matter so that they may nip it in the bud — and in the process, prevent any further unfortunate events from taking place.