Ringling School Board Votes to Keep Staff Member Following Several Concerns of Verbal Abuse
News 9 - February 16, 2023 6:54 am
Several parents and students are speaking out against a high school staff member Ringling. The Ringling staff member is being accused of verbally abusing and threatening his athletes for years.
Several athletes have had no choice but to go to their parents after recent events.
Right now, we are not naming the staff member in question until legal action is taken.
Parents in Ringling acted Monday, they said for years their children have been verbally abused and threatened by the staff member in question.
“A parent’s job is to protect their children and the school isn’t doing it. It’s our job to step up,” said Randall Jackson, whose daughter goes to Ringling High School and said she has been bullied by the staff member.
“For two years my son has begged us to stay quiet for fear of retaliation, especially after having to do the naked up-downs,” said Susan Lyle, a parent whose son was on the football team.
“I was in disbelief that someone in authority like this would be acting this way,” said Heather Stephens, a fellow parent.
“He has done things and said things in the locker room in the past,” said former player Kaiden Lyle.
Lyle said it got to a point that he and his friends decided to tell their parents. Former players came forward one by one.
“It all started my freshmen year; he definitely made an impression on us with some of the things he said. Right off the bat cussing at us, first day there, it was like nothing I’d ever seen,” said Hunter Stephens, a former player.
Stephens said the staff member, “took a couple of us individually into his office and told the entire team that he was our ‘daddy’ and that we were ‘to go to him before our parents’ and talking about ‘we don’t need to go to doctors because they know more than the doctors do.’”
“He has told me I don’t have a soul because I have red hair and he has just called us names like no other. He will call us pu***** or cowards,” said Kaiden Lyle, another former player.
“If we miss athletics or anything like that because of a doctor’s appointment or sick or a funeral when we come back, they will say we shouldn’t have gone to the doctor because they know more than the doctors do,” said Lyle.
Parents told News 9 they have been trying to speak to the board about allegations for a while, but it wasn’t until this past meeting on February 13 that they were given five minutes to voice their concerns.
“I’m here to address the abuse of power that is in this school system that has led to the suspension of my son and ask that this suspension be revoked immediately,” said Susan Lyle.
“It really hurts me because one of the guys that had been targeted is my cousin and he was recently suspended from school. My thought is they found out we were onto them, and they suspended him for ‘false statements,’” said former player Lyle.
The school board deliberated for hours in executive session before announcing that they renewed the staff member’s contract.
“A kid is supposed to be safe in school, if they aren’t safe in school where will they be safe at,” said Jackson.
News 9 reached out to the district multiple times. They would not address the allegations but say he was rehired Monday night in a five to zero vote.
The Ringling Chief of Police Brian Huckabee said they were not aware of any allegations before Tuesday and have received a DHS report. They will be forwarding all information to the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation.