Wednesday, July 01, 2009

JCPS releases investigation into Gilpin death

Says Preexisting Illness Cost Max Gilpin
Not Dehydration
Slams but Defends Indicted Coach

This from Toni at C-J:

Superintendent Sheldon Berman said he was "outraged" that former Pleasure Ridge Park High School football coach told players at a practice last August that they would have to continue running until one of them quit the team.

But releasing the findings of what he called the most extensive investigation in the school district's history, Berman said Wednesday that neither the coach, Jason Stinson, nor his assistants violated state or district policy at the Aug. 20 practice at which Max Gillpin collapsed from heat exhaustion and later died.

(34:38 - Press the On Demand Button)

Berman's Statement (pdf)

(271 page pdf)

Berman also said the investigation, in which 125 witnesses were interviewed, "clearly indicated that Max Gilpin did not die as a result of any restriction in water breaks or denial of water."

The district's report, which took 10 months to complete, outraged Max's parents, Jeff Gilpin and Michele Crockett, who said they felt the district "only presented information that made (the district) look good." But attorney Mark Fenzel, who represents Stinson and his assistants in a lawsuit filed by Max's parents, said, "We are pleased that the district found what the coaches have maintained all along – that no rules were violated, the players got plenty of water and that Max's death was a tragic accident."

Commonwealth's Attorney David Stengel, whose office is scheduled to try Stinson Aug. 31 on a charge of reckless homicide, declined to comment on whether the district's report would uncut the case. "We'll do our talking in court," Stengelsaid...

While the district has found no rule violations, Berman said he was "extremely troubled" by Stinson's remark "that running would end when someone quit the team."

"While this kind of negative motivation may be used in some amateur and even professional sports, that kind of culture has absolutely no place in JCPS' athletic programs," Berman said. "Coach Stinson's statement is not an appropriate means to motivate student athletes."

Berman did not mention whether he was outraged by Principal David Johnson's faith-based absolution of Stinson without any investigation.


Anonymous said...

According to C-J picture, all the JCPS lietenants were in the room, Rodosky, St-Clair, for example. Max's parents weren't even told when and where the press conference would be held. Stinson was briefed Monday because as Dr. Berman is quoted in the C-J "we have an obligation to an employee as part of our employee practices". I guess he forgot that Max's mother is also a JCPS employee, but I guess she has been shoved over to that oft-despised category of "parent" in this case. So who still thinks that this is not about the adults?

Richard Day said...

I believe that was questioned during Q & A with Berman; or was it with JCPS attorney Byron Leet? Without going back to listen to the response again (so this is not hyper-accurate), I seem to recall the parents were notified through their attorneys.

I also recall that they didn't get much advance notice.

A tactic? I don't know.

In the face of such a tragedy and in such a charged environment one might hope the district would act with an abundance of consideration for the family.