Apparently we all had the wrong idea about what’s gone on with the Hamilton High School hazing situation.
On Thursday afternoon, the Chandler Unified School District offered a contract to Steve Belles to teach, but not coach. In the meantime, interim coach and assistant principal Dick Baniszewski will continue as Hamilton’s head coach through the 2017 season.
Now, without knowing the details of the ongoing investigation: I’m shocked!
Clearly I’m on the outside looking in, but I think the district could have made a more decisive decision, especially in light of the allegations and the fact that three teenagers are still facing charges.
But the district did just the opposite, saying the decision to bring Belles back as a teacher is not disciplinary in nature. There’s also a good chance Belles will be the head coach again in 2018. Nothing has been said on that front, but that’s the feeling I’m getting throughout this process and based on the decisions that have been made.
Let me say this: I wish nothing but the best for Steve Belles, especially if he’s ultimately proven to be innocent of all this if and when the truth comes out. He’s been a good coach who’s done a lot of good things for kids in this state.
But in my opinion, to make these decisions now, while the investigation continues, is just a little premature. Why not let the investigation play out and see where the blame falls?
Regardless of Belles’ and/or Baniszewski’s innocence or guilt, the district had plenty of options to choose, without firing either guy, or keeping them at the Hamilton. The district could have easily reassigned them to another school temporarily, and removed them from the situation.
Again, I’m not accusing anyone, because I don’t know the facts yet, and let’s face it: Social media is all about guilt before innocence. I just think it would have been prudent to wait until all the facts are in before making any decisions that affect the kids. Knowing that kids were allegedly assaulted and others have transferred out tells me something was going on.
The best thing for all of us at this point is to let the investigation play out, and let’s wait and see if these things in fact happened and who was involved.