HEATH (CBSDFW.COM) – Parents of football players at Rockwall Heath High School say their children were bullied, not by other students, but by their own coaches.
An investigation into the football program found evidence the head coach, Mickey Moss, may have exceeded his authority, interfered with parent-child relationships, stereotyped students, and dismissed his players’ medical concerns.
Complaints filed by two families prompted Rockwall ISD to hire an outside law firm, Gant & Hicks, to conduct that investigation. The investigation grew to include 27 allegations made by a total of eight families.
The final report determined Coach Moss was a “sincere person of strong moral conviction,” but that his actions “destroy the trust that must exist between the parent, student, teachers, coaches, and school.”
In one incident the report looked at, the coach allegedly confronted a student saying, “he knew the boy had stolen (an) iPhone and that the theft was captured on videotape.” Investigators later determined “there was never a videotape…and that (the student) had in fact not taken the iPhone.”
When the coach discovered another player was to blame, investigators say he waited six months to tell the guilty student’s mother and only to “prove (she) did not know everything about her son’s behavior at school.”
In another case, the coach allegedly accused a student of failing a drug test, but was unable to explain how the test was performed. That family ordered a separate test with an independent doctor and it showed no signs of drugs.
Investigators also found coaches would sometime dismiss doctor’s medical opinions, for instance, ridiculing a player with asthma when he had to remove his helmet.
They were also found to give players special treatment, allowing them to wear earrings and signing waivers for them to miss class.
The investigators even spoke with the family of a former student of South Garland High School, where Moss previously served as athletic director.
According to the report, when that student’s parents divorced, Coach Moss told him “since he chose to live with his mother, he would never be a man.” After the student’s mother complained, the boy allegedly never played again.
“We don’t let children to bully other children, but we allow an adult to bully a child. That’s what’s disturbing,” said LULAC district director Beatrice Martinez, who followed the complaints.
The school board reviewed the investigation and complaints made, but decided not to terminate any coaches. In a statement, district spokesperson Sheri Fowler said “The independent investigators found that no District employee engaged in conduct constituting abuse or neglect, as defined by state and federal law. Additionally, the independent investigators did not believe the evidence supported allegations of retaliation, bullying, harassment, or discrimination.”
The school district is reportedly planning to conduct sensitivity training for the football coaching staff.