The lack of clarity at Santa Margarita

Luca
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The lack of clarity at Santa Margarita

Post by Luca »

So as not to appear to be avoiding the topic:

I think the recent episode at Santa Margarita would make a good case management study over how not to respond to a situation.

1). If the two coaches were actually involved in cultivation and distribution, it's the responsible reaction (as soon as the administration is aware of the situation) to release an in house explanation of what happened and why it was felt reasonable to retain them as coaches. There are circumstances under which this might be acceptable, but you do have an obligation to make those circumstances and rationale available in a timely fashion to your constituency, i.e. the students and families.

2). If the 2 coaches were actually involved in cultivation and distribution, why release an initial public statement insisting that the administration - and the diocese - had done due diligence and concluded that they were not? Why not make absolutely certain of the facts before releasing a statement and risking administrative credibility?

3). If the 2 coaches were not involved in cultivation and distribution, why - after releasing a public statement stating this as well as your reasons for retaining them - would you now fire the two? What has changed? After already settling with the two, was it something so shallow as a spineless response to adverse publicity?

I have no interest in the groundless (and not infrequently partisan) speculation of those unfamiliar with the program, but I cannot conceive of a possible scenario where the administration handled this correctly unless (as they state) they were unaware of the incident until the mid-October revelation and that the 2 coaches subsequently misled them about their involvement in the marijuana operation, in which case I think the administration likely acted with commendable compassion, if not commendable competence.

A few random caveats:

First, I don't think a simple misdemeanor possession in the off-season outside of a school affair mandates dismissing an athlete, student, coach or teacher. Under certain circumstances it might, but generally no. And I don't think it's necessary to make a public statement regarding the episode or the disciplinary response. Everyone is entitled to an opinion on how rigidly to respond, but this is not the particular hill on which I would choose to die.

Second, I still don't know if these 2 were involved in cultivation and distribution or simply renting a house where the owner was running an operation. If they were personally involved - and if somebody here has factual evidence of this as opposed to strongly held opinion I'd be interested in hearing it - then I would conclude that the 2 were likely deceptive (they should have reported this immediately to the administration) and that the school is guilty of incompetence at a minimum, having released an initial public statement clearing them of involvement in cultivation/distribution.

Third, if the school was aware they were involved in cultivation/distribution and still released that initial public repudiation, that is a very serious ethical lapse and I would not consider it forgivable. However, having been involved with this school for 17 years and knowing both its history and philosophy, I don't think there is a snowball's chance in hell that this is the case. I had mentioned somewhere that one of my sons a few years back was nearly dismissed from the school 3 days before his graduation for having Sudafed (he had a cold) in his backpack on campus. I had to go down and make a melodramatic presentation on his meriting a "second chance."

I think an appropriate response at this point would be for the school to release - at least to its constituents - a timeline of who knew what/when and why the administration responded - or did not respond - as it did. As things stand, the two public releases are insufficiently vague. Were I still a parent at the school, I would not consider the current situation acceptable......Luca
OPINIONATED
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Re: The lack of clarity at Santa Margarita

Post by OPINIONATED »

Wow.
And my apologies . . . I once thought your football recaps to be somewhat wordy.
Now I recognize they're actually short.

BTW, could you prescribe something for a mild headache?
Luca
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Re: The lack of clarity at Santa Margarita

Post by Luca »

I wouldn't worry about it, Opinionated. In your case it couldn't hurt that much..........Luca
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~44~
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Re: The lack of clarity at Santa Margarita

Post by ~44~ »

Luca wrote:So as not to appear to be avoiding the topic:

I think the recent episode at Santa Margarita would make a good case management study over how not to respond to a situation.

1). If the two coaches were actually involved in cultivation and distribution, it's the responsible reaction (as soon as the administration is aware of the situation) to release an in house explanation of what happened and why it was felt reasonable to retain them as coaches. There are circumstances under which this might be acceptable, but you do have an obligation to make those circumstances and rationale available in a timely fashion to your constituency, i.e. the students and families.

2). If the 2 coaches were actually involved in cultivation and distribution, why release an initial public statement insisting that the administration - and the diocese - had done due diligence and concluded that they were not? Why not make absolutely certain of the facts before releasing a statement and risking administrative credibility?

3). If the 2 coaches were not involved in cultivation and distribution, why - after releasing a public statement stating this as well as your reasons for retaining them - would you now fire the two? What has changed? After already settling with the two, was it something so shallow as a spineless response to adverse publicity?

I have no interest in the groundless (and not infrequently partisan) speculation of those unfamiliar with the program, but I cannot conceive of a possible scenario where the administration handled this correctly unless (as they state) they were unaware of the incident until the mid-October revelation and that the 2 coaches subsequently misled them about their involvement in the marijuana operation, in which case I think the administration likely acted with commendable compassion, if not commendable competence.

A few random caveats:

First, I don't think a simple misdemeanor possession in the off-season outside of a school affair mandates dismissing an athlete, student, coach or teacher. Under certain circumstances it might, but generally no. And I don't think it's necessary to make a public statement regarding the episode or the disciplinary response. Everyone is entitled to an opinion on how rigidly to respond, but this is not the particular hill on which I would choose to die.

Second, I still don't know if these 2 were involved in cultivation and distribution or simply renting a house where the owner was running an operation. If they were personally involved - and if somebody here has factual evidence of this as opposed to strongly held opinion I'd be interested in hearing it - then I would conclude that the 2 were likely deceptive (they should have reported this immediately to the administration) and that the school is guilty of incompetence at a minimum, having released an initial public statement clearing them of involvement in cultivation/distribution.

Third, if the school was aware they were involved in cultivation/distribution and still released that initial public repudiation, that is a very serious ethical lapse and I would not consider it forgivable. However, having been involved with this school for 17 years and knowing both its history and philosophy, I don't think there is a snowball's chance in hell that this is the case. I had mentioned somewhere that one of my sons a few years back was nearly dismissed from the school 3 days before his graduation for having Sudafed (he had a cold) in his backpack on campus. I had to go down and make a melodramatic presentation on his meriting a "second chance."

I think an appropriate response at this point would be for the school to release - at least to its constituents - a timeline of who knew what/when and why the administration responded - or did not respond - as it did. As things stand, the two public releases are insufficiently vague. Were I still a parent at the school, I would not consider the current situation acceptable......Luca
Here ya go Doc:



Santa Margarita Letter to Parents


Update Regarding Football Coaches from the Principal and President
The following was sent out to current parents of the school as well as faculty and staff on Thursday, Dec. 29.

Dear Parents of SMCHS:

On Friday, 23 December we sent you an email regarding the issue of two SM football coaches who plead guilty to misdemeanor marijuana possession charges. The purpose of our contacting you today is found in the final two lines of that email: "This situation remains under review. You can be assured that further appropriate action will be taken by the school as necessary." We have engaged in further inquiry into the circumstances surrounding this situation which included additional interviews with the two coaches and others along with a review of court documents. We would now like to share our findings.

On December 14, 2010 the two coaches, Sean Coen and Robert Hendricks, were living in San Juan Capistrano with a football coach from another high school. On that December day a little over a year ago, sheriff's department officers arrived at the apartment because of a noise complaint. According to information from the Orange County District Attorney's office a marijuana cultivation system was found in the garage along with plants, dried marijuana and a notebook that served as a "pay-owe" ledger listing medical marijuana dispensaries. None of the three were taken into custody that evening but were told that they may be contacted by the Orange County District Attorney's office. They later received a letter informing them that they were being charged with three felonies.

In their first court appearance they pled 'not guilty' and a number of postponements followed. The three men were in court on September 15, 2011 and were offered a plea agreement by the D.A.'s office. The charges would be dropped to misdemeanors and ninety days jail time. At a later appearance the court supported their request to be placed in the work furlough program in lieu of jail time.

On November 14, 2011 they reported to the OC Jail and went through the booking process. After being interviewed they were accepted into a work furlough program and both Mr.Coen and Mr. Hendricks are currently working in two Orange County locations.

There are some very important points that go along with the above information. After sentencing on September 15th, an automatic reporting system first notified the Diocese that there had been court action. On Monday, October 3, 2011 the school was asked to have Mr. Coen report to the Diocese for questioning. The school was instructed to place him on administrative leave while they conducted an investigation. On October 10, 2011 the school received official notification that Coach Coen was permitted to return to his duties. Subsequent notification about Coach Hendricks came on November 4, 2011. Let us assure you that the school did not know anything about this situation until the October date.

A December 12th phone call to Mr. Carey from the District Attorney's office along with subsequent news reports led to an internal investigation and our preliminary email to parents and staff December 23rd.
In our internal investigation we found that sound judgment was not exercised by either man in allowing marijuana to be grown in their garage. When one is charged with the responsibility of working with teenagers who are constantly in a society where the temptation of marijuana is prevalent, these coaches had a responsibility to utilize sound judgment. Mr. Coen and Mr. Hendricks had every opportunity prior to and after September 15th to inform their head coach, the athletic administration or the school's administration of the facts surrounding their case and neither did so.

Based on the facts we gathered in our investigation the school is immediately terminating both Mr.Coen, who is a full-time employee, and Mr. Hendricks who is a walk-on coach.

The integrity of Santa Margarita Catholic High School and the welfare of our students are of paramount importance to us and we pledge that we will do everything possible to prevent this type of incident from occurring again and we will be vigilant in honoring the trust you have placed in us. We hold our students to high ethical and moral standards and expect the same of our staff. When one is involved in the education of youth there has to be a higher standard to which you are called.

This incident has overshadowed what should be a time of celebration for our school. It is very important that we concentrate on the young men of the 2011 Eagle Varsity football team and remember that they recently completed a truly fantastic season capped by a CIF and State championship. For their hard work and dedication they rightfully should be celebrated. Not only are they outstanding young men but they are excellent examples of the type of students that typify Santa Margarita Catholic High School.

Thank you for choosing Santa Margarita Catholic and entrusting the school with the privilege of providing your sons and daughters a Catholic education. Santa Margarita will continue to remain an institution where character building and moral development are a vital part of the educational experience.

Sincerely,

Raymond R. Dunne
Principal

Paul Carey
President
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~44~
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Re: The lack of clarity at Santa Margarita

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~44~
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Re: The lack of clarity at Santa Margarita

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Luca
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Re: The lack of clarity at Santa Margarita

Post by Luca »

~44~ wrote: Here ya go Doc:
Thanks for the response, 44. I appreciate it.

I had seen that release before. It doesn't explain to me what new information the administration uncovered between their first public statement and their second one that led to their firing the 2 coaches.

If they subsequently discovered that the 2 were involved in cultivation/distribution, why wasn't the administration more careful about getting its facts straight before releasing that first statement insisting that the 2 were were not involved?

My suspicion is that the administration was caught unaware, was likely misled by the coaches about the depth of their involvement, and initiated a premature damage control response before having sufficient information. But it would be nice to have a little more information clarifying that....Luca
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Re: The lack of clarity at Santa Margarita

Post by socalfootballfan »

Luca wrote:
Thanks for the response, 44. I appreciate it.

I had seen that release before. It doesn't explain to me what new information the administration uncovered between their first public statement and their second one that led to their firing the 2 coaches.

The only thing NEW was that that the press got a hold of the information and that is when the SM ADMIN went into "CYA" mode. There is no doubt in my mind that if the OC Register had not released the info, these coaches would still be employed by SMCHS.


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Luca
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Re: The lack of clarity at Santa Margarita

Post by Luca »

socalfootballfan wrote: The only thing NEW was that that the press got a hold of the information and that is when the SM ADMIN went into "CYA" mode. There is no doubt in my mind that if the OC Register had not released the info, these coaches would still be employed by SMCHS.
I don't think you are following the trail of events.

There was no new information released by the OC Register between the Santa Margarita administration's first statement and its second one.

But something caused a change in the administration's stance between the two releases which obviously wasn't information from the Register. Some information was new and neither of us knows what it is....Luca
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Re: The lack of clarity at Santa Margarita

Post by RoadRunner »

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eagleforlife
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Re: The lack of clarity at Santa Margarita

Post by eagleforlife »

As a parent of a football player at SMCHS, I can tell you I am disguisted by the lack of backbone Ray Dunne and Paul Carey have displayed.
I agree with Luca-we all deserve granular information as to why the administration flip flopped so hard on these boys.
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Re: The lack of clarity at Santa Margarita

Post by SoMelo »

eagleforlife wrote:As a parent of a football player at SMCHS, I can tell you I am disguisted by the lack of backbone Ray Dunne and Paul Carey have displayed.
I agree with Luca-we all deserve granular information as to why the administration flip flopped so hard on these boys.
What about Welch? Do you seriously think he knew nothing about it before the administration did?
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Re: The lack of clarity at Santa Margarita

Post by socalfootballfan »

Luca wrote:
I don't think you are following the trail of events.

There was no new information released by the OC Register between the Santa Margarita administration's first statement and its second one.

But something caused a change in the administration's stance between the two releases which obviously wasn't information from the Register. Some information was new and neither of us knows what it is....Luca

Luca,
The only thing that changed was the "heat" the program got due to the initial report from the OC Register and the poor excuse for a letter that the SM admin sent out. The facts did not change and there was not a further investigation.

In the first letter to parents, it clearly stated the following:

"Based on factual information gathered in the review, Mr. Coen was permitted to remain a full time employee... We have spoken with a number of people familiar with the football staff and did not discern any evidence of either man being involved with use or sale of marijuana."

Add some emails from Coto parents,Starbucks workers, media asking for more details, threads on message boards and you get the following response days later

Mr. Coen and Mr. Hendricks had every opportunity prior to and after September 15th to inform their head coach, the athletic administration or the school's administration of the facts surrounding their case and neither did so."


CYA

Sad part is the SMCHS Admin and HC had every opportunity to have access to the facts and didn't do their "Due Diligence." They dropped the ball months ago and now, they are "caught with their pants down" in more ways then one.
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Re: The lack of clarity at Santa Margarita

Post by Compete »

Socalfootballfan

Socal -- Lickety is a mother of a prominent junior on this year’s team -- she knew months ago [see copy of post from Dec 29], if she knew then the whole coaching staff knew -- so your statement below that no one was informed doesn't appear to hold water.


licketysplit » Thu Dec 29, 2011 11:23 am
FYI... I have known about this for months. This was not "news". OC Varsity decided to pull a smear campaign by unleashing old information when it would hurt the most. They determined the best thing to do to a winning team and their coaches is to kick em when they're up. That's the good ole American media for ya! This happened LAST YEAR. The guys served their punishment - this case is DISMISSED.

Mr. Coen and Mr. Hendricks had every opportunity prior to and after September 15th to inform their head coach, the athletic administration or the school's administration of the facts surrounding their case and neither did so."
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Re: The lack of clarity at Santa Margarita

Post by BoscoBandWagon »

Luca,

Much respect for not trying to throw curve balls anymore.
I am not a SM supporter nor hater. I was actually rooting for them in the semi's and finals, I like it when a Trinity League team beats anybody besides Bosco.
But having to read SM supporters brush this off has made he sick to my stomach. I would be furious if a school I went to (bosco alumni) or a school I sent my kids to had this happen and there was this cover up/ response.
Much respect for telling it like it is :cheers: :cheers:
Last edited by BoscoBandWagon on Fri Dec 30, 2011 2:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The lack of clarity at Santa Margarita

Post by eagleforlife »

SoMelo wrote:What about Welch? Do you seriously think he knew nothing about it before the administration did?
My guess is the coaches told Coach Welch about it as soon as they possibly could and Coach Welch in turn told the Principal in a timely manner (again, as soon as possible).
I really do not believe anyone tried to cover up anything-and I do not believe the school had a moral obligation to let parents know that two football coaches pled guilty to misdemeanor charges.
Again, what I believe is the Principal flip flopped the second he saw/heard the reaction when this became public. And again, this is what disgusts me.
Having said this, perhaps Mr. Dunne et al were directed by the Dicocese to fire these two boys once Steve Fryer printed his article.
Luca
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Re: The lack of clarity at Santa Margarita

Post by Luca »

If in fact this was merely a change of heart by the school because of the adverse publicity then this was a spineless way for the administration to respond.
Do you have any evidence for that, ie that it was purely a politically correct reaction?

You're implying - I think - that the 2 were involved in cultivation/distribution. Do you have any evidence for that? Or that the school knew this before the first statement was released?

When you say that the administration didn't do it's due diligence "months ago" do you mean that you believe knew of the episode prior to October? Again, evidence or opinion?

I don't mean to sound like I'm challenging you, but it seems that the opinions greatly outnumber the facts on these boards recently......Luca
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Re: The lack of clarity at Santa Margarita

Post by socalfootballfan »

eagleforlife wrote:
My guess is the coaches told Coach Welch about it as soon as they possibly could and Coach Welch in turn told the Principal in a timely manner (again, as soon as possible).
I really do not believe anyone tried to cover up anything-and I do not believe the school had a moral obligation to let parents know that two football coaches pled guilty to misdemeanor charges.
Again, what I believe is the Principal flip flopped the second he saw/heard the reaction when this became public. And again, this is what disgusts me.
Having said this, perhaps Mr. Dunne et al were directed by the Dicocese to fire these two boys once Steve Fryer printed his article.

So the fact that the principal flip flopped "Disgust you" but the fact that two SM coaches got arrested for having 234 marijuana plants, 5 Lb bags of dried weed, and a pay/owe ledger didnt? ](*,)
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Re: The lack of clarity at Santa Margarita

Post by RandyF59 »

socalfootballfan wrote:The only thing NEW was that that the press got a hold of the information and that is when the SM ADMIN went into "CYA" mode. There is no doubt in my mind that if the OC Register had not released the info, these coaches would still be employed by SMCHS.
Worse still was that I feel pretty, Oh, so pretty, I feel pretty and witty and bright! And I pity Any girl who isn't me tonight Sondheimer at the LATimes piling on after the being scooped by The Register. Talk about bandwagon jumpers.
Luca
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Re: The lack of clarity at Santa Margarita

Post by Luca »

BoscoBandWagon wrote:Luca,

Much respect for not trying to throw curve balls anymore.
I am not a SM supporter nor hater. I was actually rooting for them in the semi's and finals, I like it when a Trinity League team beats anybody besides Bosco.
But having to read SM supporters brush this off has made he sick to my stomach. I would be furious if a school I went to (bosco alumni) or a school I sent my kids to had this happen and there was this cover up/ response.
Much respect for telling it like it is :cheers: :cheers:
I appreciate your sentiments, but I wasn't consciously throwing curve balls. I believed that the two were guilty simply of misdemeanor possession and that the reason the cultivation charges were dropped was because they weren't involved. I believed that the school and diocese had already investigated the issue, decided it was nothing more then a misdemeanor and given the circumstances didn't consider it such a big deal. I didn't have a problem with that.

But when they came out with that second statement that contradicted the first one then it seemed clear that a more detailed explanation was in order. For God's sake, if you have previously made an unconventional but ethical decision to retain employees, then have the courage to explain why and to defend it. Integrity is its own defense.

If you didn't do due diligence, admit it.

If you were misled by two coaches you trusted, just say so without being overly concerned about potential legal liability......Luca
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