May 11, 2023

LET'S BOUNCE THIS GUY: the issue & the letter to the principal, *plus pics for fun

This has been going on for awhile, (links to the start of the saga) but on April 17th when Mr. Ego, Reg's varsity b-ball coach/history teacher, made fun of my son to his face for being a bench warmer on his AAU team, I considered loading the 6 littles into the GW van and cutting our zoo visit short, so I could drag this creep into the hallway of the high school and pummel him. Many mind blowing things have happened. I think this email, that I wrote and which was reviewed by Curly's assistant b-ball coach who is a lawyer, sums it up. I sent this to the principal on Sunday night. I apologize for the length. 


Mr. Principal,

A random Thursday: 
7 littles about to run races.
My husband, Coach, and I have 6 children. We've had kids at Our High School for 11 consecutive years. With this written communication, we are bringing directly to your attention a situation of a teacher who is, and has been for some time, bullying our son, Reg, and want to provide you with background as to why we’ve now escalated this to your attention. Please let us know immediately if you are able to address this situation or if we need to speak with someone else in the school system. We’ve tried to follow the system as we were instructed, and this has been brought to the attention first of the athletic director and also the history department as the teacher we believe is bullying our son is both a teacher and coach at the school.

Reg only wore his new
 sweats a few times.
 Mystery how he got a perfectly
square tear in them. Finnegan?
We first discussed with Mr. Athletic Director via Zoom on March 20th, again over the phone on April 20th, and most recently on April 29th the unacceptable behavior of Mr. Ego in his role as varsity coach and his repeated comments about our son’s basketball skills in the classroom. We shared 3 pages of notes and examples during that first meeting hoping Mr. Athletic Director would use the information to appropriately address the situation. Since then, Mr. Ego took it upon himself to call our son out in front of other students saying he believes they lost most of their varsity basketball games because Reg was a selfish player. (SIDE NOTE: REG IS NOT REMOTELY SELFISH, HE HAS A HIGH STAT FOR ASSISTS, WHICH MEANS HE PASSES THE BALL OFTEN) 

On April 17th, Mr. Ego ridiculed our son. He called him over after class and told him that he'd heard that he was only a benchwarmer on his AAU team. This intentionally hurtful and damaging comment was unbelievable and unacceptable for a teacher to make to a student in class. I immediately called Mr. Athletic Director. Additionally, I called Ms. Counselor, Reg's counselor. She suggested that I reach out to the history dept. chair. I contacted Ms. Hist Dept Chair in order to alert her that a history teacher was bullying our son. Despite the fact that we've given a valid complaint, we don't feel that it is being addressed in an appropriate manner. 

I brought my supplies to a Milwaukee
 hotel and started to patch them.
For one, Mr. Athletic Director required that before he actually do anything meaningful to address this situation we first had to find other players and parents willing to speak to him to share their experiences with Mr. Ego as a coach. Investigating this issue should not fall to our son, or to us, as parents. When we Zoomed with Mr. Athletic Director we told him that we hoped that he would remove Mr. Ego as coach if he couldn’t act appropriately, because he lashed out at our son on a regular basis - an issue that was noticed by other players on the team. 

Mr. Athletic Director seemed receptive of our concerns and apologized since he was the one who hired Mr. Ego. He stated that in order to make the coaching change that we were hoping for, he would need to hear from other players/parents. Other players did come forward, one family is moving to Texas partly because they didn't want their son to have to play varsity basketball for Mr. Ego, having already experienced his coaching shortcomings when their son was a freshman. Despite the other accounts of Mr. Ego's issues, he has not been dismissed as coach or taken responsibility for his actions. 

Mr. Athletic Director assured us that our identity would remain anonymous when addressing this with Mr. Ego. During our conversation on April 20th, Mr. Athletic Director shared with me that something was about to happen, something that would lead to noticeable improvements. I believed this to mean that he was going to remove Mr. Ego from the coaching position, but that didn't happen. 

Ta-da. I couldn't find a fabric
close to the sweatpants' color -
 thus the shamrock. I suggested
 that we brand all of his clothes
 that way. 

Instead, Mr. Athletic Director indicated he had a conversation with Mr. Ego, reminding him to keep basketball related topics out of the classroom. Mr. Ego deduced that Reg complained to Mr. Athletic Director. When I asked athletic director if he told Mr. Ego who complained, he said that he hadn't. He said other students had similar complaints, so when he spoke to Mr. Ego it wasn't obvious that Reg was the student who came forward. Mr. Ego figured out that it was Reg because while there may be other students who deal with Mr. Ego's poor judgment, Reg is most likely his biggest target. After athletic director spoke to him, Mr. Ego approached Reg and said YOU KNOW ALL THAT STUFF I SAY TO YOU, YOU KNOW I'M ONLY JOKING AROUND, RIGHT? Nothing he said could be taken as a joke, not one word. For example, when he showed a Vietnam video just before spring break, he told the class that most of the vets interviewed had lost limbs in the war. Then he turned to Reg, in front of the class - so plenty of witnesses, and told him, SO Reg, MAYBE YOU SHOULD STOP COMPLAINING ABOUT YOUR KNEE WHEN YOU PLAY BASKETBALL. Now that he knows Reg has mentioned his torment, we anticipate another unbearable season with him as varsity coach and with the uncertainty that the situation might potentially develop into something worse. 

If it's true that other students expressed similar concerns, as Mr. Athletic Director stated, then why is Mr. Ego allowed to continue to coach?

Ms. Hist Dept Chair offered to have Reg switch to another history class, but why should our son be the one to have to make a change when he has done nothing wrong?  Shouldn’t it be the teacher who is bullying our son who should be required to change his behavior?  The switch so close to the AP exam/end of the school year would have put even more undo stress on our son. Ms. Hist Dept Chair initially suggested that Coach, Reg, and I sit down with Mr. Ego to discuss his comments. She stated that 90% of the time teachers don't realize how their comments are landing. There is no chance that Mr. Ego didn't know that his comments were mean. Ms. Hist Dept Chair then informed me that in the four years since she has been the department head, she has never received a call about Mr. Ego. "He's a well liked teacher." I pointed out to her in an email that children who are bullied are not expected to confront their bullies. Furthermore, if a student is bullied, is it ever acceptable to shrug and say, Sorry, your bully is really popular? Another student agreed to come forward to discuss the ridicule she witnessed Mr. Ego dish out towards, Reg - but she wanted to wait until after her grade was final, fearing that Mr. Ego would 'tank' her grade. Mr. Ego has made her uncomfortable in class with unacceptable comments as well.

When we told Hist Dept Chair that Reg wouldn't be switching classes or sitting down with Mr. Ego, we suggested that we sit down with him at the end of the school year. She said her offer was only to make Reg comfortable in class, and since that was no longer necessary a meeting wouldn't serve any purpose. She stated that she would handle the situation internally. 

Unfortunately, handling this situation internally in the history department with a conversation does nothing to protect Reg or any other student from dealing with Mr. Ego's verbal abuse. There is no guarantee that he won't behave this way in the future. Seeing as it is difficult for a student to come forward, it might be challenging to know whether or not other students become victims to his nonsense. 

Mr. Ego has clearly bullied our son. He's failed to separate his involvement as a coach with his role as an educator. His bullying behavior AS AN EDUCATOR is difficult to comprehend. During the varsity season, he often taunted Reg or threatened to kick him off the team for no apparent reason. Reg is epileptic and came home shaking at times, leaving us fearful that he might have a seizure. We ended up hiring a sports psychologist to help Reg cope with the mental challenges he faced at the hands of a coach at Our High School. Mr. Ego has crossed the line with Reg, and other students, multiple times. 

Our son's health should be a priority, as should the health of any other student who comes in contact with a teacher who is known to make cruel or demeaning remarks, call students names, comment on their ethnicity, and abuse his position in order to belittle, bully, or taunt students. By allowing Mr. Ego to continue to teach and coach in the school, his behavior is condoned. There are a number of students who are not comfortable coming forward. Not taking appropriate action sends a message to students that speaking up isn't going to matter. The school has an anti-bullying policy in place and we’d like clarity from you on how this policy is applied towards teachers and coaches.

Mr. Ego announced to the sophomore basketball team during the '22-'23 season, YOU AND YOUR PARENTS CAN COMPLAIN ABOUT ME ALL THEY WANT, I'M NOT GOING ANYWHERE. While it is our hope that this confidence in his job security isn't legitimate, the fact that Mr. Ego hasn't been replaced in his varsity basketball role or removed as a teacher is highly concerning and we could not be more disappointed with how little the athletic director and the history chair have done to meaningfully address this situation.  We are hoping you will conduct a full investigation into this matter and we’d like to request a meeting with you at your earliest convenience.  While we hope this can be addressed and resolved in short order, we are also prepared to seek resolution through the legal process should that become necessary.   

Coach and I, together with other concerned parents, expect that Mr. Ego will be released from all coaching duties and teaching obligations by the end of this month. If you need to speak to other students impacted by Mr. Ego's behavior, then we encourage you to investigate appropriately.


After Coach and I met with the AD in mid March, we felt heard. We were confident that the issue would be addressed and that the coach would be replaced. That didn't happen.
Is it me, or does downtown
Bloomington, Indiana
 appear to have inspired the
Back to the Future town square?

Earlier this week, the principal responded to our email, stating that the issue at hand violates code #blah-blah (bullying/harassment), so he forwarded it to the district complaint HR woman at the superintendent's office, who we are zooming with today, Thursday, at 1:30.

It SEEMS like they're taking it seriously.

I've asked other parents to speak up. One mom said she'd urge her daughter, who is in Reg's class and who has been impacted by Ego's remarks, to write up what she's witnessed/been subjected to. Apparently Ego tells Asian students, I KNOW YOU GUYS WOULD RATHER BE IN MATH CLASS, BUT YOU'RE IN HISROTY RIGHT NOW.

Coach thinks it'll be hard to get rid of him because of the union, unless he sexually or physically abused a student. I say, what if he is a bully? I hope they bounce this guy.


mbmom11 said...

If it's not some violation of confidence, could you send this letter to the whole school board? You don't want it to get "lost" by HR.
I hope this works out for Reg.

Pat Birnie said...

This is a horrific situation. The ‘politics’ in this situation makes me so angry. This guy should not be teaching or coaching at all. Years ago I had a bullying situation with my daughter. It was academics not sports; my daughter, who was an excellent student, missed a lot of her final year of high school due to a health problem. This B…of a teacher decided she was faking, made fun of her publicly and refused to give her the assignments. I went right over their head to the superintendent and it was turned around immediately. The principal’s job is to defend the teacher even when they know the teacher is in the wrong. Good luck!

Beth Cotell said...

This is a very well written letter and I hope that it is addressed immediately. I am sure that the more people that come forward with concrete examples of his horrible behavior will help your case. I know the politics of all of this is maddening to you all but this guy should not be a teacher or a coach. Good luck with your meeting and please keep us posted!

Colleen said...

Great letter, terrible situation. This guy is obviously a teacher and coach for the power it gives him over students, so sad. I hope the other parents are all individually interviewed anonymously so they can get a consensus. We had a similar situation in our high school...a few people complained about the guy over the years but nothing was done until 12 employees left the school one year and received exit interviews and had so many complaints about the guy that an investigation was opened and more employees who had previously left the school were called and questioned about the guy. Finally he was forced to resign. It takes a lot of voices to make it happen, which isn't fair because just one voice should be believed.

Nance said...

I'm really sorry about your situation. Coaches should not be teachers and vice versa. I've never known a coach who was a good teacher, and I was a high school teacher for over thirty years.

It's always tough to go up against a teacher, and when it's a coach, it's doubly so, especially if he/she has a winning record at all. Other students/players don't want to compromise their own grades/playing time. And the teacher/coach can count on that. Unfortunately, the union has to protect all its members, even the shitty ones. Hang in there. I wish you the best.

Ernie said...

mbmom11 - I would have no problem sending this letter to the school board if it was ignored or if we didn't get results, but we have a zoom at 1:30 this afternoon with the HR woman. The policy states that the complaint needs to be addressed in 10 days. I am hopeful.

Ernie said...

Pat - I totally agree. He's always done whatever he wants and traditionally says whatever he wants. Many of the students think he's funny. I know that the principal interviewed Curly's friend, the one whose mother died in January. The principal wanted to know about something that Ego said to a kid on the freshman team. I knew nothing about this other kid, so I believe there have been other complaints. Fingers crossed.

That situation with your daughter sounds so crazy. What on earth? I'm glad you got it addressed.

Ernie said...

Beth - Thank you. I told Coach after I drafted the letter - MAYBE I SHOULD'VE BEEN A LAWYER. Hee hee. I did get some of the wording from the lawyer, along with the suggestion to not include my own judgements - let the principal form his own judgement. I'm hopeful based on the principal interviewing C, Curly's friend whose mom died in January, that there are other examples that have complained - people who I have no contact with. I will keep you posted.

Nicole said...

What an awful situation, I'm glad they are taking it seriously. Hope it gets resolved soon.

Ernie said...

Colleen - Thanks. I do think the letter sums it up pretty well. Coach usually says I'm too long winded, but I wanted to share whatever I could while I had his attention. It is a terrible situation. Reg is doing well and is about done with the school year, but we REALLY don't want this guy as coach next year. I do hope that they've gathered enough info to rid the school of him. The story you shared is incredible. I cannot believe it took that long and that many people to finally get rid of that guy. Eek. I sure hope they ask him to retire early.

Ernie said...

Nance - I see your point. The students are intimidated by this guy, or they aren't targeted by him and they find him hilarious. He is a twisted guy. I believe he is narcissistic and that he feels threatened by Reg's basketball knowledge. I do hope in this case the students' well being will over ride whatever the union tries to say.

Ernie said...

Nicole - It is so disheartening. Such a strange situation that I would never have dreamt up. I'm a very trusting person and I assume teachers are on the straight and narrow. I hope it is resolved soon too, and I hope that we feel comfortable with the resolution.

Life of a Doctor's Wife said...

Ernie, I am so sorry to hear that you and Reg (and apparently other students!) have been feeling so ridiculed and picked on. I hope that you find a satisfactory resolution.

Bijoux said...

Sadly, I think Coach is right about the union and if this guy has tenure. We saw and heard some awful stuff go on with teachers. The only ones I’ve ever seen get fired were: one had an affair with a student, one was caught stealing money from the school vending machine, and one made a sexual remark to a fellow teacher. Meanwhile, the teachers who are bullies, lie about students, continuously absent, or basically don’t do their jobs get to keep their jobs. Like a lot of other things, it’s a broken system. And god forbid you have an IEP. Don’t get me started.

Busy Bee Suz said...

I'm sick to my stomach that this guy is out there in this role and is abusing it 100%. What an absolute turd!
The letter is good, clear, concise and you mean business. I'm glad you are doing this and I can't wait to hear how the zoom call goes.

joymariecooks said...

Haven't been commenting much lately - traveling to see the in laws then coming home and being 6 weeks pregnant mean I've been reading but not commenting. But hopefully this is my return to commenting! Oof. I'm so sorry about this situation. Hopefully this letter helps get a real solution in place that ends the bullying. I'd be pleasantly surprised if he's unionized if he can be fired for this, but hopefully something will be implemented like he needs to be supervised by another adult while teaching and coaching that would hit Me Ego with the seriousness of his bad behaviour. Keep us posted!!

Kara said...

I hope the school offers you support and does not close ranks to protect this man who should not be in a classroom or coaching anyone at this point. I am anxiously waiting for your update and hoping for the best.

Ernie said...

Suzanne - Thank you. It is so ridiculous. I'm confident that he has never ridiculed a kid as much as he has Reg. He really has a special issue with him. Years ago teachers maybe made remarks like this and it was not noticed. Nowadays this isn't allowed.

Ernie said...

Bijoux - The meeting today was basically informative, as in: this is what it will look like if you want to file an informal investigation. I asked about whether or not they'd relieve him of his duties. She said because of tenure, it isn't likely. What on earth? Why must tenure protect the worst along with the best? We have some hope that he'll at least lose his position as a coach, but no guarantees. Other kids need to come forward to verify that Reg isn't making this up. Reg has an IEP too.

Ernie said...

Suz - I do think I write a decent letter. I had a few pointers from the laywer guy, but I think this covers the main points. Holy heck, do I ever mean business. It is my hope that Ego wishes he'd never crossed me or my children. Big.Mistake.

The zoom call was mostly informative. She laid out what it would look like if they launch an investigation. Coach asked if Ego would know about it, like would he know that Reg was behind it. The answer is yes. We weren't happy about that. She said he wouldn't be able to retaliate, and if he did? Bam.

Oh, Ego has been SO super nice to Reg lately and to the girl he calls names. I spoke to her mom yesterday again. The trouble is so many people are intimidated by him. It burns me up that he can do what he wants and get away with it. I'm trying to convince people to speak up.

We hope that at the very least he isn't able to coach anymore - doubtful that they will take away his teaching job, as wrong as that is. I told the woman he is mentally ill. She noted that I have a lot of additional information that wasn't in the principal email so I'm going to meet with her face to face next week. Thankfully Mini will be here to cover my babysitting gig.

Ernie said...

joymarie - First of all, CONGRATS on the pregnancy. Wow. That's exciting. I hope you are feeling OK. It's great to hear from you again.

After the meeting today, I don't think he will be terminated for these infractions. Tenure. Such garbage. What nonsense to have that kind of job security that allows you to mistreat other people, espeically young people.

We will be very relieved if at the very least he no longer gets to coach. Fingers crossed.

Ernie said...

Kara - The principal has offered all sorts of counseling services and anything else that we need, which has been a big comfort. Reg isn't interested in the services. He sees a light at the end of the tunnel and he wants to move towards the end of the year. He took the AP test for that class, so it is easy street from now on. I asked him if he wanted to move to another class now that the AP test is over, but he said no - it's fine. Plus Ego is going out of his way to butter up Reg. I find it disgusting.

The zoom was mostly information sharing. We have to decide if we are going to move forward with the investigation and I think we will. Then the principal starts to interview students to verify what Reg says happened, or he interviews other students who have witnessed or dealt with their own unwelcome comments.

Thanks, I will keep you updated.

Ally Bean said...

Fascinating. I have no kids, and never much liked most of the coaches in my high school, so I feel like a bystander about this. BUT am sure this guy needs to be investigated. He doesn't sound like a positive influence, to put it lightly.

Kari said...


I feel really bad for Reg. I hope this gets resolved sooner than later.

Ernie said...

Ally - It has been so irritating and going forward and speaking up is not easy. I do hope that the investigation proves what is going on. He just intimidated another kid, a freshman friend of Curly's unrelated to Reg's complaint, and the kid's mom is going to share what happened to her son. That will speak volumes, because the AD just told him to keep basketball out of the classroom but he might be doing that with Reg, but then did that with the freshman . . . so he cannot be trusted.

Ernie said...

Kari - I could not agree with you more. It never dawned on me that tenure could be a bad thing. It's the worst. It gives teachers (who for the most part are AMAZING and who are in there doing a really great service and want to teach) the ability and the comfort level to mess with kids.

Reg is seeing the light at the end of the tunnel as far as the classroom stuff goes, but he is really hoping for a new coach for basketball.