Saturday, July 27, 2013

GUEST BLOG: AYSO Region Sweeps Child Endangerment under the rug

Hey All!  It's been a while since I've been on here.  I'm still writing, just on a different assignment right now.  Anyway, I came out of hiding for a guest blogger. I strongly feel this story is worth sharing. Bloggers, please feel free to share this and spin off your own story if you like. I have more contact information for you if you are interested in doing so.  Anyway, welcome Ms. Skylar Bond to my blog **Enter Applause here**

Hi everyone. I'm Skylar and I wanted to share a very serious issue that a concerned mother came to me with. Please read it in it's entirety and help her get her story heard to force some answers from AYSO. Thanks in advance for your support!

The American Youth Soccer Organization, better known as “AYSO”, has been a positive part of communities across the nation for years and is always improving upon its growing organization to develop confidence, sportsmanship and an all around camaraderie amongst youth.  So, when one hears about how one region is sweeping a child endangerment case under the rug; it really strikes a chord and is worth exposing because, that’s not what AYSO is all about right?
A concerned parent wrote this letter telling of an incident at her son’s game.
AYSO Board Members,
I write to you in seek of justice for an incident which occurred June 18, 2013 at approximately 1900 hours where a child was endangered on Newton Middle School soccer field during a friendly game between AYSO All Star team and Wolves club team.
Let me start by expressing the hurt I have with the referees, board members and parents on the field that day.  We all know soccer is an aggressive sport and aggression grows with age and levels. Nobody questioned why or how this led to the situation in which we’re in. They simply brushed it off or as a board member said to me “he started it” (name of member upon request). As you investigate what happened on this day, you will see that no child asked for any inhumanity from a parent.
I would like to inform you that I’ve reached out to the police department Lieutenant on duty the day and making sure my rights as a parent are heard and handled properly. The case was closed on the day of the incident because parents/ref’s and board members of AYSO claim they did not see Andre’s father strike my son. The case has been re-opened with the City of Industry Sheriff’s department. My intentions are to file child endangerment against Andres’ father.
Here is an explanation of what I seen and was told by witnesses from both sides. You may also do your own investigation. The game was great, boys from both teams showed aggressiveness. With soccer boys get agitated when an opponent takes the ball away. My son kept taking the ball away from Andres and each time he did Andres would kick my son in the back with what seems to my son as a gesture to trip him. He ignored Andres with the hopes a referee would notice or Andres would stop. By the time the 2nd half came around Andres successfully tripped by son. My son was agitated as well so he stood and shoved Andres telling him to stop. As Andres was approaching my son his father, Mr. Botello ran onto the soccer field pulling his son back and taking a swing at my son. My son was hit in the head, but thankfully the mid ref (a witness on this case) pulled my son from the full hit of Mr. Botello and luckily my son did not suffer any physical damage or knocked unconscious. He does suffer trauma from the fear he has towards Mr. Botello. Mr. Botello also cursed at my son calling him a f’en b(word) and cursed him in Spanish that nobody touches his son or he will kick his rear end (nicely put) Mr. Botello threatened my son.
I would like to know how you pursue this incident and actions taken upon Mr. Botello. As you review your records, you will see Mr. Botello coached my son Kenneth Carlos Kincaid at the ages of somewhere between 5-8 years old.  I do not see Mr. Botello fit to coach and hope you do not take his aggression lightly.
I do not feel his son Andres should suffer the consequences, as he is a child and cannot control his father’s aggression behavior. For other children’s safety Mr. Botello should not be allowed to attend any games as well as coach. He is an endangerment to children.
With all due respect, please provide a response within 24 hours of this email so I do not take this matter to a higher department. (Regional/or lawsuit)
If you have any question you may reach me on my cell
Dated: June 19, 2013”
After reading the letter, Region 23 commissioner David Skalsky responded that the matter was being deferred to the Legal department because of the “threat of a lawsuit”.  He then proceeded to say he spoke with one of the officers on the case.  The concerned mother gave an incorrect name of one of the officer’s and that’s the one that the commissioner claims to have spoken to.  Secondly, he called the coach that was not at the game the weekend the incident took place and reported back that the “coach didn’t see anything”.  Well of course he didn’t because he wasn’t there. 
The mother of the young boy that was struck said “I have a case open with the police department that is on hold. I talked to the officer for a while and I don’t want to ruin the man’s life or take him away from his children. I’m trying to be forgiving, but it doesn’t change the fact that I don’t believe he is fit to coach other people’s children. If he can openly lose it like that, then it’s not an isolated incident. To me, both boys are victims in this.
AYSO has a fantastic program that was implemented called Safe Haven®.  The program is designed to address the growing need for Child and Volunteer Protection in youth sports. The components of the program help create a safe, fun, fair and positive environment - “safe haven” - for all participants.” It goes on to mention safety and injury prevention, child welfare, child safety, etc.  After jumping on the field during a game (which is not allowed) and hitting a child in the head (pretty sure that’s against the rules as well); it would seem that the mission statement of the Safe Haven program was violated on a few levels.
AYSO prides itself on being accredited by the NCACE (National Council for Accreditation of Coaching Education).  There are 8 coaching standards and benchmarks listed on the NCACE site as an example for organizations to found their coaching standards on.  Domain number four is Growth and Development and one of the sub statements under it says “Teach and encourage athletes to take responsibility for their actions in adhering to team rules.” How can a coach teach something like that when he himself has not taken responsibility for what he has done, nor has anyone made him?  It may also be a safe assumption that the Positive Coaching Alliance, which is also one of AYSO’s partners would not be on board with his behavior either.

Should the boys have been so aggressive with one another? No.  Should they have both been carded for tripping and shoving one another?  Absolutely!  Should a grown man jump on the field to fight his son’s battle?  You consider if it were your child on the receiving end of it and answer that for yourself.  This could have gotten way out of hand had the mother chose to get involved physically or went for reinforcement to “settle” the score.  Instead, she went to the proper channels to plead for fair justice without any more violence or confrontation.  Instead she has received a brush off and is being treated like a parent overreacting.  Meanwhile, there’s a guy who hit a child in the head that still gets to coach other people’s children.   What happens if he loses his temper during practice?  Boys on the same team get aggressive against one another and may get physical in the heat of the moment; will he fight another one of his son’s battles?  Will he give a child a concussion next time around?  Is Mr. Skalsky going to brush that off as well?  A chain is only as strong as its weakest link.


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