Roseburg Public Schools reached a settlement with the parents of six current and former Roseburg High School student-athletes in early November.

The parents filed a tort claim in February 2018 alleging former volleyball head coach Danielle Haskett and assistant coach Kari Morrow had bullied their children.

Details of the compromise were not released by Pace, the district’s insurance liability carrier. A statement released by the school district last Tuesday said the district maintains it “committed no offense and denies any wrongdoing.”

The claimants originally informed Roseburg Public Schools of the intent to file a tort claim in Fall 2017. Earlier mediations were unsuccessful and the matter was expected to head to court.

“In an attempt to further reduce the insurance carrier’s legal costs associated with litigation and without the district’s knowledge, the insurance carrier and the complainants engaged in further negotiations and reached a compromise,” the district’s statement read. “The compromise brought the matter between the insurance carrier and the complainants to an end.”

The district received a copy of the compromise agreement on Nov. 19.

Leta Gorman, the attorney for the six student-athletes who left the team, did not respond to inquiries by The News-Review.

When the complaints were first brought to the school board, the board members requested an independent investigation into the board’s policies and procedures.

This investigation was completed by former school administrator and University of Oregon professor of school law Tim Keeley.

In the report, Keeley made six recommendations to the school board:

  1. A proposed adjustment to the hazing, harassment, intimidation, bullying and menacing complaint procedures for staff members, which would allow the district to appoint an independent investigator when there is a reasonable perception by the complaining party of a conflict of interest.
  2. Administrators should contact guardians of affected students within 24 hours when major conflicts occur in school district programs.
  3. A recommendation for delayed involvement by the superintendent.
  4. When the district anticipates the community might perceive a bias, an outside investigator should be considered.
  5. Consider a progression of communication when problems in athletics arise.
  6. Be careful to communicate to guardians and athletes the tenets of the Bruce Brown Proactive Coaching philosophy.

Interim superintendent Lee Paterson said the district postponed an official policy revision after assurances from its legal counsel that the current policy is sufficient. Paterson stated those policies could be reevaluated now that litigation has ended.

Roseburg Public Schools’ statement read, “The district is anxious to work with the board of directors to improve processes for addressing complaints clearly, responsibly and without delay.

“Further, the district will be evaluating policy which governs athletics and athletic participation to ensure that it reflects the district’s intention to provide athletic opportunities that offer the healthiest and most positive experience we can provide for our student athletes.”

All references to the Bruce Brown philosophy of coaching, which stipulated that problems within the team are not discussed with outside sources, have been removed from the Roseburg High School website.

At the beginning of the school year, the RHS athletic department rolled out a core values initiative, which promoted the message of “it takes us all to make the one” across all sports programs.

“In conducting my exit interviews with our fall athletes all of them had great things to say about their coaches spending time talking about loyalty, integrity and relentless effort,” RHS athletic director Russ Bolin wrote in a statement. “So, core values are nothing new to our programs. What is new is that we have all programs delivering a consistent message.”

News-Review sports reporter Sanne Godfrey can be reached at 541-957-4203 or via email at sgodfrey@nrtoday.com. Follow her on Twitter

@sannegodfrey.

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Sports Reporter

Sanne Godfrey is a sports reporter for The News-Review.

(10) comments

Cowboy

I’m not sure what it means when the article says that the district “reached a settlement” with the players. I certainly hope that it doesn’t mean that the school district had to give them something monetarily. Unfortunately, this legal response is all too common in situations like this. The infamous six, along with their families, were banking on the fact that insurance companies often try to throw some money at frivolous lawsuits such as this. Of course, the reason for rewarding a person or persons with money is a long way from an admittance of wrongdoing; rather, it is validation that the issue being debated isn’t worth the time or energy it would take to prove what everyone but six families in this community already know. Whatever the case may be with regard to what the “settlement” was, it really doesn’t matter.

Everyone in this community learned a lot about the character of “the six.” We learned how a sense of entitlement inspires young people to hurl lies and half-truths in order to take out anyone who dares to call them out on their garbage. Whatever “the settlement” was, take solace, community members and taxpayers, in the fact that they didn’t win. They can now take their “settlements” while everyone in the community looks at them with as much admiration as the bankrobber speeding away in the getaway car with the community members’ money.

sound

I guess BOHICA explains it all ? “Bend over here it comes again” Take it without protest? No thanks!

bohica13

Born on a holiday In Calif.

sound

Actually, while following this story, I’ve been more impressed by the ridiculous adults especially given the credibility of the athletes. Seemed like people liked listening to themselves sound intelligent without all the facts. After the final report was conducted by an independent investigator finding misconduct, suddenly it was silent. It doesn’t take seeing the JH case rather reading about a coach let go from Lake Oswego HS, a coach let go from N Eugene, and a coach let go from Klamath Falls. Maybe what was acceptable 30 years ago is no longer acceptable.

bohica13

We have reared a generation of emotional hemophiliacs.

Proteger

Or rather maybe we have raised a generation that will not tolerate harassment and bullying. Every person, whether they're in the workplace, in a classroom or on a sports team deserves the right to be treated with respect. You've missed the mark on this one.

bohica13

How on earth did kids grow up ALL these years, survive, and make their mark DESPITE bullying, and harassment which I saw VERY little of growing up. Stop! I have to take a cry break!

Proteger

Your comment only shows how uneducated you are on the severe effects of bullying. Here's an article to help you out.
http://www.bullyingstatistics.org/content/bullying-and-suicide.html
Not all kids are growing up due to bullying. Unfortunately for kids in this day and age they also have to deal with cyberbullying. Comments from people like you and Cowboy only add to the bullying. I guess you can both pat yourselves on the back for supporting bullies and discounting victims. As for me, I will read between the lines on this matter. In the districts statement, they are "anxious to work with the board of directors to improve processes for addressing complaints clearly, responsibly and without delay."
“Further, the district will be evaluating policy which governs athletics and athletic participation to ensure that it reflects the district’s intention to provide athletic opportunities that offer the healthiest and most positive experience we can provide for our student athletes.” I am hopeful to see real changes for future students and athletes at Roseburg High School and trust the board members will do a good job making sure this happens. Have a good day.

Fredhendee

Roseburg high has always been the flagship of athletics and sportsmanship, but has faltered over the last few years. For example, look at the assistant coaches leaving the football program. I believe the current athletic director leaves much to be desired. May want to start there.

Concerned Property Owner

Make sure you get all your kids into the sports programs parents and as soon as a Coach raises their voice at practice, SUE the school district and get rich!
The parents of these cry babies probably learned from the Jessica Hansen case who was just awarded $120k of Our tax dollars because of so called Hurtful words!

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