Archive for Wednesday, November 13, 2002

Former coach sues Dodge City district, officials

Lawsuit claims discrimination after whistle blown on alleged assault

November 13, 2002


— A teacher and former assistant football coach at Dodge City High School is suing the head coach and the school district, claiming he suffered retaliation for reporting an assault on a player during practice.

The lawsuit by biology teacher Chris Fawcett claims that he was fired from his extra duties, passed over for a department chairmanship and threatened with losing his job after reporting the alleged assault by coach Mike Schartz.

Besides the school board and Schartz, the suit names Supt. Gloria Davis, Athletic Director Tamie Preston and Principal Jacque Feist as defendants.

The action, filed Nov. 1 in Ford County District Court, seeks more than $75,000 in damages.

In the lawsuit, Fawcett claims that on Aug. 28, 2001, he saw Schartz hit the player - who was not identified in the filing - in the throat, causing injuries that sent the player to the hospital.

The attack was caught on the practice videotape, the lawsuit claims, and Fawcett reported it to Feist, the Dodge City Police Department and Preston.

Fawcett's attorney, Jason Hart, said the attack happened so quickly that Fawcett did not have time to intervene.

School board president Beth Love said Monday that Schartz had been suspended because of the alleged incident, but she did not know how long the suspension lasted. She said the decision concerning the length of suspension would have been up to Feist as the building supervisor.

Love declined to comment on the lawsuit itself.

Schartz was suspended for the Red Demons' opening game in 2001 for what were described at the time as "undisclosed disciplinary reasons."

On Nov. 2, 2001, the lawsuit claims, Fawcett was fired from his duties as assistant football coach, weight room supervisor and time-clock operator. He was hired by the district in 1993.

Other claims in the lawsuit:

  • After reporting the incident, Fawcett was twice passed over to become the chairman of the high school science department, even though he was qualified and next in line by virtue of seniority.
  • Fawcett continued to receive threats to his job as a biology teacher, including a May 8, 2002, conversation in which Feist allegedly threatened to end Fawcett's teaching contract if he did not keep silent concerning the alleged attack.

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