Mobile coaches received “supervision memo” after Davidson hazing incident

Mobile County
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MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) — Mobile County’s former school superintendent sent out a “supervision memo” to principals and coaches in May, following a hazing incident at Davidson High School. Many of the directives apparently were not followed by coaches in the Davidson beating.

Titled “MCPSS Athletic Supervision Memo,” the directive includes the following:

  • It is the responsibility of the coaches to monitor and supervise all student-athletes that participate on their teams
  • All head coaches and assistant coaches are responsible for locker room supervision
  • Expectations for conduct are to be clearly communicated, posted and reviewed on a consistent basis with athletes
  • Coaches at all times must monitor and walk through the locker room until all student-athletes exit
  • It is the responsibility of the coaches to make sure all student-athletes are off campus before they leave campus. Student-athletes are NOT to be left on campus without a coach

In April, freshman Rodney Kim Jr. was attacked by eight teammates in the Davidson locker room. His arm was broken and his parents say he suffered emotional trauma. The attack was recorded on cellphone video. The parents say no coaches provided medical care and all had left the campus by the time Kim’s father arrived to pick him up.

It is still unclear what school system policies, if any, existed before the May memo put out by then superintendent Martha Peek.

“Many of the procedures outlined in the memo were already utilized,” said MCPSS spokesperson Rena Philips. “This was more of a reminder of the importance of monitoring the athletic areas emphasizing the importance of proper supervision.”

The eight players identified in the Kim beating were expelled. Three were 18 at the time and are facing criminal charges as adults. Five others were assigned to juvenile court, where three pleaded guilty this week.

Kim’s family filed a $12 million lawsuit against the Mobile County Board of Education earlier this summer. This week, two other students, Trey Shondetts and Jeremiah Chatman and their families, joined the Kims in filing a federal lawsuit against the school system, Davidson Coach Fred Riley, Principal Lewis Copeland (since retired), and others.

Shondetts and Chatman say they were beaten by Davidson football players and no disciplinary action was taken. Shondetts was a football player and describes his beating as “hazing.” It took place in a Davidson locker room. Chatman was not a football player but claims school administration and coaches turned a blind eye to violence committed by football players. Both of the attacks were videotaped.

The Kim, Chatman, and Shondetts families have called for Riley to be fired. At this point, Riley has not been subjected to any disciplinary action and remains head coach as practice for the 2018 season begins on Monday.

“These boys have been held accountable,” said Mary Kim, Rodney’s mother. “They’ve owned up to their wrongdoing. So now it’s time to for Fred Riley to be held accountable.”

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