Allegations of Bullying & Sexual Harassment in Pryor High School Sports
KTUL - January 5, 2024 1:29 pm
Pryor School Tiger Stadium (Pryor School Facebook photo)
PRYOR, Okla. (KTUL) — Looking for accountability and transparency, that’s what several parents in Pryor want from the local school district.
They say their kids have experienced bullying and sexual harassment while participating in sports and that it’s all been swept under the rug.
“It was sickening. I hated going here,” said 19 year-old Carly, finally speaking out about the behavior, she says, from the coach of the girls’ basketball team when she was as a sophomore at Pryor High.
“Like he would show us how to post up on a post move and we would have to lean against him and he would pull us towards them, or he would just rub on us for too long, it was just inappropriate behavior, and it was grooming, it was just not right,” she said.
He would also, she says, walk into the girls locker room unannounced.
Would you describe it as sexual harassment? “Yes, it is. It’s inappropriate, it’s not, what he did it was sexual harassment,” she said.
“It consumed me. It consumed me because I was supposed to protect her,” said Sharon, Carly’s mother. She was very disappointed in how the school handled things.
“They allowed him to resign, they did not fire him, and they allowed him to keep teaching here,” she said.
Were there ever any charges? “They said there was nothing criminal found, but there was no, they never interviewed my daughter who was the victim,” she said.
That coach no longer works at the school, but complaints about the athletics department have not gone away.
“My child’s been going through some bullying that’s been happening with the coaching staff and with the other kids in the team against each other,” said another parent.
Jennifer has a 17 year-old son at Pryor high school now who no longer plays basketball due to what she describes as a toxic environment.
“I’ve talked to the coach, the head coach myself, and then I had my son come in whenever the bullying started getting worse. And it wasn’t just bullying with him, it was bullying with other kids and he had to be a bystander and see things happen and he had enough. He had told me like three or four times, ‘I want to quit, I’m tired of being here,'” she said.
We reached out to the Superintendent, who was not in charge of the district during the girl’s basketball coach scandal, but as for the bullying, she told us, “The safety and well-being of our students is the first priority of Pryor Public Schools. All concerns that have been raised with staff members regarding the culture of the boys basketball team have been investigated by administrators at Pryor High School, and action was taken when appropriate. We encourage any students or parents who have continuing concerns to share that information with the district.”
“So they’re pretty much asking people to speak up if they have issues. I mean I feel like that’s been done and nothing’s been happening,” said Jennifer.
Jennifer, Sharon and Carly would like to see a major overhaul of the athletics department, and many of them will be speaking to the school board this coming Monday. If you’ve had any troubling experiences with Pryor athletics, email us at [email protected].