A student at Douglas High School could face assault charges stemming from the Douglas football team’s “bear crawl” incident this week.

Early Monday morning, new head coach Jamison Wadley had players participate in a full body exercise known as “bear crawls” on an asphalt walkway beside the football field. In an earlier statement, Wigley said the exercise is common among local football programs — that morning, it was administered for disciplinary purposes.

Wigley said three students had “minor scrapes on their hands” after the bear crawls. Later, one parent confronted the coaching staff during practice, and then the same parent took to social media with pictures of his child’s blistered hands. He later spoke with a local television news station, but Wigley felt that led to a misrepresentation of the entire situation.

After the school system completed its investigation, Wigley released the following statement Thursday afternoon:

“It saddens me that we live in time where one parent can walk on a football field, yell and scream at a coach, and then get the attention of the news media in an effort to cover up his own actions,” Wigley stated.

“On Aug. 19, during first period athletic P.E. (7:40 a.m.) at Douglas High School, a coach had a group of football players do one set of ‘bear crawls’ on a walkway beside the football field. The vast majority of parents have no problem with the coach’s actions and support him 100%. However, one parent became upset with the coach. Instead of following proper protocol and privately discussing his concerns with school administration or with the coach, the parent came onto the practice field and confronted the coach in a belligerent manner. The parent’s actions caused a significant disruption at practice, and he has been banned from campus.

“Student safety is the upmost concern of the Marshall County School System and, therefore, the parent’s concerns were thoroughly investigated. The investigation revealed that most players had no injuries as a result of the ‘bear crawls,’ but that approximately three students had minor scrapes on their hands. It is well known that ‘bear crawls’ are commonly used as conditioning for football players in a number of school systems.

“One local television station displayed a picture showing an alleged injury to a student’s hand and misrepresented that it resulted from the ‘bear crawl’ when, in fact, the school system’s investigation revealed it was caused, in part, by unrelated events.The player is involved in power weight lifting outside of school with his dad. The parents understand the details of what took place and are very supportive of the coach and appreciate him making the boys into respectable young men. We are very fortunate to have Coach Wadley at Douglas High School.

“The Marshall County School System will remain vigilant in protecting student safety, but will also not unfairly cast blame on educators who are trying to do their jobs and better our students.”

Friday morning, Marshall County Sheriff’s Office Assistant Chief Deputy Steve Guthrie said a petition had been signed against a juvenile for an alleged assault against a Marshall County Schools educator. Guthrie said the possible charges were related to the “bear crawl” incident.

“The Marshall County Sheriff’s Office investigated two reports related to an incident that took place at Douglas High School on 8-19-19,” Guthrie stated. “At the conclusion of this investigation, a petition was signed against a juvenile for (second degree assault) on an educator, employed by the Marshall County Board of Education. The case has now been referred to the Juvenile Court of Marshall County for further prosecution.”

(4) comments

Hoghannah

I going to say something but this silliness isn’t worth the trouble really. First, the coach should have used better sense and gone to the field or gym floor. Second, maybe the parent should advise his boy to join the band.

NOONE

Hey coach, you play football on grass, not on a sidewalk. If you have to punish anyone, do it on the field, tough guy. Just remember, those kids you're mistreating will soon be adults and they'll remember you.

Daseagle

My thoughts on this matter are as follows 1.the kids and parents support the coach and will grow to trust him2.know the facts and stop the FAKE NEWS,3actions of the parent show that he’s taught his child not to respect authority thus causing his child to become a felon before he’s 18.I know the coach personally and he has the best interest of each and every child on that team at heart so don’t be so quick to judge because you are right they are going to be thankful of the discipline and teamwork he teaches them.And the respect they have for him when they graduate.Its a physical sport and if your child can’t handle the pressure of a contact sport I suggest basket weaving or piano.

Elmo

I know this coach personally. He loves kids but he loves grooming kids into men more. For the gentleman comments about “tuff guy” this dude definitely is. One of the rudders men u will ever meet. And that comes from coaches being tuff on him. Great man!! These kids will thank him for it one day. And if it’s too tuff maybe they should take up something else. Plenty of other things to do besides football. But I’m sure you didn’t play football so you should know what those other things are

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