Cascade High School coaches under investigation for track athlete punishment keep teaching jobs

Coaches resign but keep teaching positions

CLAYTON, Ind. - Four coaches at Cascade High School under investigation for a painful punishment involving track athletes have resigned from their coaching positions but will keep their teaching jobs.

Several members of the boys' and girls' track teams who missed practice on the day before prom were forced to walk on their hands and feet doing a so-called bear crawl around the asphalt running track for more than half a mile, parents said.

Several students suffered blisters and open sores on their hands, and one mother told RTV6 that a doctor said her daughter suffered second- and third-degree burns.

"Most of them got stopped after two laps, but some kids' hands were really bad, and one kid went to the hospital," said a 14-year-old freshman girl, who missed practice because her mother had to work.
"We asked if we could tape our hands up and they said, 'No, go back to practice.'"

In a statement released Tuesday, the Mill Creek Community School Corporation said the coaches have resigned from their positions, but they will remain on as teachers.

"After gathering and investigating the facts surrounding the incident, it has been determined that there was no intent to cause harm to students. The teachers have admitted poor judgment in their decisions on May 1 and have since recognized and taken ownership of their actions," the statement read.

The teachers -- Josh Hagenow, Nick Puckett, Sean Adams and Rosie Fakes -- returned to the classroom Tuesday, school officials said.

Also Tuesday, the track team had its first meet without the four coaches.

Reaction from students and parents was mixed.

"As a parent, you're going to be upset anytime someone hurts your child," one parent told RTV6.

Another parent thought the response was an overreaction.

"I feel like what transpired here was just blown out of proportion and hurt a lot of people in the process," parent Heike Roessiger said. "It was kind of like a lynch mob almost, and I feel the message sent to kids is there won't be consequences. You'll get away with anything if you scream loud enough."

Student Patrick Jaggers said there are other consequences from losing a coach.

"All the coaches that are gone now, we all bond with them," he said. "That's been the hardest part for a lot of the kids is losing not only their coach, but their friend."

Watch RTV6 and refresh this page for updates.

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