Niagara Gazette

February 1, 2013

Roy-Hart coach suspended following bullying incident

Niagara Gazette

Niagara Gazette — EDITOR’S NOTE: The Gazette's sister publication in Lockport inaccurately reported that Royalton-Hartland coach Don Baker had been fired in a story published Friday. Baker has just been suspended.

The Royalton-Hartland School District reported that girls basketball coach Don Baker has been suspended for the remainder of the 2012-13 basketball season following a Jan. 18 locker room incident at Barker where the team had a scheduled game.

Superintendent of Schools Kevin MacDonald called the incident "extremely sensitive," but details of what occurred were not disclosed by district officials.

Baker was suspended for failing to report a hazing or bullying incident, which violates an anti-bullying code of conduct and the Dignity For All Students Act.

The incident was brought to MacDonald's attention when School Board President Patricia Reigle informed him.

Reigle said that as an administrator, it was her duty to report the incident.

MacDonald released a statement regarding the incident on Friday afternoon:

"The Royalton Hartland School District is a district of immense pride, great students, great families and great staff. Those involved have been cooperative throughout the investigation. It is likely every school district in the country has experiences with these events. In the end we are an educational institution where learning takes place sometimes through making mistakes. We will continue to educate our students, staff and community regarding such incidents.

"We believe all have learned about the seriousness of these incidents, and are firm in our belief that our school community will endure. While we are currently in the media spotlight, I can only hope that others learn from our story and perhaps it prevents such an incident from occurring elsewhere."