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Another side to the Palo Alto story. Coach says she did all she could to protect her players and was only contacted once, not several times as a Palo Alto paper reported

Date: December 27, 2007
Name: Jekara Wilson
Location: Palo Alto
Subject: Hazing
Comment:

I am Jekara Wilson, the JV Head Coach for JV Volleyball at Paly.

I would like to set the record straight. The article stated that I was contacted ‘several times’ to comment on this article. That is incorrect. I received ONE PHONE MESSAGE, which was almost indecipherable. I could not make out the name or phone number.

If someone wishes to really reach me, my email is posted on the Paly Sports website. I can also be reached by leaving a message with the athletic department. One could have spoken to the Head Coach, Dave Winn and gotten a message to him. One could have called me again. None of these actions were taken.

As far as what happened with the JV girls, I did catch wind that there was going to be a ‘team activity’ led by the team captains. That this activity would be outside the realm of our practice and before school.

Just in case they had any questionable activity in mind; I took the captains aside at the Gunn game and told them in case this activity involved hazing of any type, it is not acceptable and would not be tolerated. That if anyone participated in such an event, there would be a consequence.

Upon finding out that the girls did indeed participate in a mild initiation, I went to my head coach for guidance and a decision was made. After much discussion with all the coaches in the volleyball program, we decided upon what punitive action we would take. We then notified the athletic director.

Beside the benching we had more discussions with the players in a group session to point out what they did wrong and opened the floor for discourse both at that time, and if the player chose, in a private meeting so we could come to an understanding of what happened and how to prevent it in the future. We also held out that offer if it individually upset a player, try to help her with that as well. No one took me or any other coach up on that offer.

I do not condone hazing, and take steps to do what I could to prevent it from happening in the first place. What happens outside of school is beyond my control, and all I can do is what I DID do, try to elucidate the players on what is expected of them, and if the worst happens, deal with the fallout in the most fair and effective way possible.

Jekara WilsonCoach,JV Volleyball (girls)

By Hank Nuwer

Hank Nuwer is the Indiana-based author of Broken Pledges: The Deadly Rite of Hazing, High School Hazing, Wrongs of Passage and The Hazing Reader. He has written articles or columns on hazing for the Sunday Times of India, Toronto Globe & Mail, Harper's Magazine, Orlando Sentinel, The Chronicle of Higher Education and the New York Times Sunday Magazine. His new book is Hazing: Destroying Young Lives from Indiana University Press.

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