(Published on BlueDevilHUB.com on Aug. 31, 2015)
About: I broke the news of a controversial release of a coach, and waded into the murky story. It was difficult to separate fact from fiction, and I heard plenty of conflicting stories. With my first article, I stuck to the facts and acknowledged potentially biased sources.
By Kellen Browning,
Update (Tuesday, Sept. 1, 8:48 p.m.): Former JV field hockey coach Frank Marotti provided the following statement in an email to The HUB:
“At the meeting I had with [Athletic Director Jeff Lorenson] last week he said “we accept your resignation.” I did not resign. In a paper given to players Monday it indicated I was let go. News to me. I was never told I was let go and I never resigned.”
The original story is below.
Field hockey players were told Monday afternoon by Athletic Director Jeff Lorenson that JV coach Frank Marotti is no longer a part of the program.
Lorenson declined to be interviewed by The HUB, noting that “personnel is a confidential topic.” However, in a letter handed out at practice addressed to parents of field hockey players, he provided more details, writing:
“While I cannot share with you the specifics of personnel actions, let me assure you that DSHS holds our coaches and all our employees to a high standard of professionalism. If a coach is unable to maintain this level of professional conduct when dealing with athletes, parents, supervisors, colleagues and members of the public, it is incumbent upon the school administration to take action to remedy the situation. If remedy proves not possible, a coach may be released.”
Marotti also declined to comment, but in an email confirmed that the decision was “not mutual.”
Varsity coach Sandie Marotti-Huckins, the daughter of released JV coach Marotti, said, “I was not informed of the dismissal by the administration until after the dismissal happened and the circumstances seem convoluted to me as there was no forewarning or prior conversations concerning any actions that were inappropriate.”
Some field hockey members wrote a statement, which was provided to The HUB by varsity player and junior Denna Changizi, who is also a HUB staff member:
“Coach Frank Marotti was unfortunately fired. We don’t know why but he was a vital part of our system and a huge part of the team. We are very disappointed that the AD made this harsh decision without consulting any team members about it, especially because this all happened right before our big start of the season jamboree tournament. His loss is a big set back [sic] for us and we hope he can come back before the season is over to help us reach our goals.”
According to the letter provided to the field hockey players, varsity coach Marotti-Huckins will serve as the interim JV coach while continuing to coach varsity this season.
This story will be updated as new information becomes available, so follow BlueDevilHUB.com, The HUB’s Facebook page and @dhshub on Twitter for updates.
“Dismissed field hockey coach has both critics and defenders”
About: I spent months interviewing more than 30 sources about the incident–many former players accused Marotti of harmful tactics in practice, and many defended him. Despite putting together a 1400-word story and interactive timeline, I ultimately made the tough decision not to publish it. Not enough of my sources were willing to go on the record, and the anonymous complaints were too close to libel.
These two pages are notes from interviews I conducted while working on the story. Interviewees’ names are blacked out to protect privacy.
(Published on BlueDevilHUB.com on Jan. 12, 2015)
About: As news editor, I worked closely with a journalist writing about cheating. I helped her navigate the intricacies of anonymous sources and deal with the possibility that a HUB staff member was involved. When editing, I followed our policy of not naming disciplined students.
By Yrenly Yuan,
A number of students were disciplined by the administration for taking part in a cheating incident that involved some Physics Honors classes. During last semester’s finals week, students reportedly took photos of Wayne Raymond’s Physics Honors final and sent them to students in later classes.
One student who heard about the cheating alerted the administration and Raymond, who declined to comment on the incident.
Junior Willie Hall was not involved with the cheating, but said that at the beginning of the Dec. 19 finals period, Raymond told the class that he had heard allegations of cheating and that some students had received images of the test. He then gave students half sheets of paper and asked them to write whether they had received images of the test, and if so, from whom.
Hall says that Raymond also threatened to remove the test from the gradebook, which he thought “would really suck, because a lot of the people who didn’t cheat thought they did pretty well on it.” However, Hall says he understands why Raymond would do so, because there were people who did not get caught and took the test with an unfair advantage.
Some students who were suspected of cheating were then taken out of class and questioned by the school administration. One student, who requested to remain anonymous, was pulled out of his physics testing period and interrogated.
He said that he had “suspected [being pulled out] had to do with the cheating scandal, as [Raymond] had just talked about it,” but he “wasn’t involved so he wasn’t too worried.”
The student added that although he understood the reason why the administration was questioning him, he was frustrated that the process took up his entire finals period when he was not involved in any of the online messages or exchange of photos.
Another student who wished to be quoted anonymously says that he was put into the group chat where someone sent photos of the test. He says that he was studying at the time with other friends, and they all decided not to use the photos and “[told] the group that that we wanted to be taken out.”
One student suspended for participation in the incident was motivated to cheat “to help out my friends.” Another student suspended for circulating photos of the final said he “posted pictures in order to share information with classmates.” (The HUB’s policy is to not name students involved in disciplinary proceedings unless they allow their names to be used or their names are published elsewhere.)
Both of these students regret their involvement and say that they have definitely learned their lessons.
After the administration’s investigation, students who were definitely not involved with the cheating kept the scores they took on the original final. However, some of the students more involved in the cheating received suspensions or zeroes on the final. Other students who were taken out of class to be questioned and missed the original test were able to retake a different final on Monday, Jan. 9.
Junior Jessie Green, a student in Raymond’s Physics Honors class, was not involved with the incident, but was surprised to hear of the cheating. She thinks that “in Davis especially, the pressure to get good grades and go to a top college is high and that makes students do questionable things.”
According to Principal William Brown, “cheating has risen to the point that it has become a discussion topic for our students, parents, teachers and school staff.” But Brown wants to emphasize that “most students do not cheat […] and work hard to earn the grades they get.”
Brown hopes that students will learn from this incident that “dishonesty is a bad thing and that if they invested the same amount of time preparing they could earn the grade they are hoping for.”
“We have supportive teachers and staff who will work with students to help them get the grade they want,” he said.
In this email, The HUB’s adviser cautioned us about the ethics involved in the story:
I helped the writer by interviewing sources like this one: