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Star-Bulletin Sports

Friday, September 29, 2000

P R E P _ F O O T B A L L

Moanalua football
players kicked off team

By Dave Reardon

Four Moanalua varsity football players have been kicked off the team and suspended from school for taking items from junior varsity players.

School and team officials acknowledged a problem after a meeting last night, but did not go into details.

"It went beyond fooling around," athletic director George Goto said.

Some items were returned for money, and some not at all, parents said. They also said items have been taken from locked lockers.

"We need to correct some procedures," principal Darrel Galera said.

"We'd like to keep it as a team matter for now," said Jose Guevara, varsity head coach since 1995.

The items taken range from football equipment to possessions like school folders and cell phones, parents said.

Sometimes the items were returned, but for a price, usually $3, parents and players said.

Varsity players and parents said the varsity players did pick up equipment left unattended by the younger players and returned them for money, but only because they were following a team rule.

The money was given to the coaches, and later returned to the junior varsity players, a varsity player said.

"I think it's pretty overexaggerated," said Skip Johnson, a varsity player who was not one of the four suspended. "My freshman year we went through the same thing. The JVs are kind of irresponsible. We're just trying to teach them to be leaders."

But the junior varsity players and parents see it differently.

"It's not them just leaving things laying around," said Donald Coleman, father of the player who had a cell phone taken from a locked locker. "One kid said he was changing his shoes and a varsity kid came and took the shoes and made him pay to get them back."

At last night's meeting junior varsity parents spoke of what they see as an atmosphere of intimidation.

Most did not want to be quoted for this article, fearing repercussions against their sons at school.

Central District School Superintendent Gary Griffiths attended the meeting. Reporters were invited by parents, but were asked to leave the meeting by Galera.

"We've investigated the situation. If any student is responsible for misconduct, they've been disciplined appropriately," Galera said.

Coleman and other parents said coaches have looked the other way or condoned some of the behavior.

"A fine system is illegal to begin with," Coleman said. "I've heard this stuff has been going on for years, since these coaches have been around."

Moanalua plays McKinley tonight at Roosevelt.

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