Allegations of sexually charged discussions and retaliation for complaints against coaching staff for those conversations fill a lawsuit filed this week in the federal district court against Denison Independent School District. The suit also names DISD Superintendent Henry Scott; Chad Bollinger, coach of the DHS baseball team; Chad Rogers, athletic director at DHS; and David Kirkbride, assistant superintendent at DISD.
The suit was filed by Michael Wright, the parent of a DHS baseball player. It seeks more $150,000 in actual and punitive damages and a jury trial. The student, who is a senior, has transferred out of the district.
The allegations contained in the suit say that Bollinger made comments about wanting to hook up with Michael Wright’s wife, the mother of one of the students on the team in front of that student. The student went home, the suit says, and told his parents about the statements. The baseball player also says that Bollinger approached the player and told him to put Vaseline on his glove when pitching to make the ball move more. The baseball player told his parents about that as well, the suit says, because he recognized the use of Vaseline as a manner of cheating.
The suit says when the coaching staff became aware that the baseball player was complaining about those things, he was removed from his starting position from the team and the athletic department failed to name him as one of the top performing players on the team at the awards dinner held for the baseball team.
Further, the suit says that Scott intervened in the situation and blamed the baseball player for the problems with the coach and said Scott would have removed the boy from the team.
Neither the school district nor any of its employees has filed an answer to the suit yet. However, Scott, when reached for comment said, that the district has yet to be served with the lawsuit. He added that it is district policy not to comment about pending litigation.
Several months ago, an email that Michael Wright sent to area media and district officials concerning the incidents addressed in the suit drew a reply from Rogers that was sent to the same recipients. In that response, Rogers said an investigation into the allegations about the comment about the Vaseline found that the coach meant for the product to be used to condition the glove. However, the comment also revealed that the product was then banned from the dugout, and Bollinger was told not to use the product or instruct the players to use the product for any purpose.
The response also said that Bollinger met with the student identified in the lawsuit and Wright over spring break to talk about the comments that were alleged to have been made about the child’s mother. In the email, Rogers said he questioned other players who were at the table with the child at the heart of the lawsuit and the coach when the comments were alleged to have been made. Those other players, Rogers said, gave statements that were inconsistent with the one given by the child at the heart of the lawsuit. Rogers went on to say that the coaching staff had met with both the father and the son and were left with the impression that Wright was satisfied with the outcome of the investigation into the alleged comments.