BEFORE THE ARBITRATOR
In the Matter of the Arbitration of a Dispute Between
SHULLSBURG SCHOOL DISTRICT
SHULLSBURG EDUCATION ASSOCIATION
Ms. Eileen A. Brownlee, Kramer, Brownlee & Infield,
LLC, 1038 Lincoln Avenue, P.O. Box 87,
Fennimore, Wisconsin, 53809, appearing on behalf of the Employer.
Ms. Joyce Bos, Executive Director, South West Education
Association, P.O. Box 722, Platteville,
Wisconsin, 53818-0722, appearing on behalf of the Association.
Shullsburg School District, hereinafter referred to as the District, and Shullsburg
Association, hereinafter referred to as the Association, are parties to a collective bargaining
agreement that provides for final and binding arbitration of grievances. Pursuant to a
Arbitration the Wisconsin Employment Relations Commission appointed Edmond J.
to arbitrate a dispute over the discipline of an employee. Hearing on the matter was held on
Employer's premises in Shullsburg, Wisconsin on January 17, 2003. A stenographic
transcript of the
proceedings was prepared and received by the Arbitrator on January 28, 2003. Post-hearing
arguments and reply briefs were received by the Arbitrator by March 25, 2003. Full
has been given to the evidence, testimony and arguments presented in rendering this Award.
During the course of the hearing the parties agreed upon the following issue:
"Did the District have just cause to suspend the grievant for one
year from all coaching
"If not, what is the appropriate
. . .
SECTION A ARTICLE VIII TEACHER
A. The assignment of certified teachers to grade level and/or
subject teaching areas will be
authorized by the Board.
B. Any teacher desiring transfer to
another grade or subject, shall make his/her request on or
before the first regular Board meeting in January.
C. The Board shall have the right to
assign all co-extra-curricular positions. Each such
assignment shall be mutually agreed upon by the Board and teacher when annual
contracts are issued. Denial to renew a previously held extra-curricular contract shall
to Section A, Article IX Non-renewal, Suspension, Discharge. [Emphasis
. . .
SECTION A ARTICLE IX NON-RENEWAL,
A. Procedures for non-renewal shall be in accordance with
Wisconsin Statute 118.22. Reasons
for non-renewal of a teacher contract shall not be arbitrary or capricious.
B. No teacher who has completed at
least two full time contract years with the District shall be
suspended or discharged without just cause. Teachers who have not completed two full time
years with the District may be non-renewed or suspended without just cause.
C. Nothing in this section shall
preclude the immediate suspension without pay of a teacher for
violation of rules and regulations, board policies or negligence
in the performance of duties when
determined by the administration that such violation or
negligent act warrants immediate suspension during the course of investigation and prior to
hearing held on the alleged violation or negligent act.
. . .
The District operates a K-12 school system wherein it employ's Timothy B. Strang,
hereinafter referred to as the grievant, as a Teacher. The grievant has also been the
School Baseball coach for past eleven (11) years and the Junior High Basketball coach for the
ten (10) years. The instant matter involves the grievant's coaching responsibilities and a
tournament played in the Metrodome in Minneapolis, Minnesota, during the 2001-2002
Every two (2) or three (3) years the grievant takes the Shullsburg baseball team to play in a
tournament hosted in the Metrodome.
In January of 2002 one of members of the district's baseball team received a
action for violation of the District's Athletic Code. The penalty for the student's actions was
student to be suspended from playing twenty percent (20%) of the baseball season, or three
eight/tenths (3.8) games with the suspension to commence with the beginning of the
baseball season. The first game the student was to be suspended was forfeited because the
team could not field a sufficient number of players. The second game was played and the
out the game. The third game, scheduled for April 2, 2002 during the week of the District's
break, was rained out. Prior to leaving for the Metrodome tournament (April 4, 5 and 6,
grievant contacted the District's Athletic Director Robert Boyle and discussed the student's
suspension. The grievant informed the Athletic Director he believed the Metrodome
a once in a lifetime experience, that the rain-out and forfeited game should count towards the
student's suspension, and, that he could play the suspended student after he has sat out
of the first game of the tournament. The Athletic Director told him to use his best judgment.
April 4, 2002 the team departed for Minneapolis. April 5, 2002 was the first game of the
tournament and the student sat out eight-tenths (0.8) of the game and played in a second
on April 5, 2002.
On the evening of Friday, April 5, 2002 the grievant performed a bed check of
members at approximately 11:30 p.m. The grievant then went to his room, which was
located in the
same hallway, used the security chain on his door and left it ajar so he would hear if
amiss. At about 1:00 a.m. the grievant awoke to some noise in the hallway. He saw
running in the hallway including some of his team members. He stopped one of his students
asked what was going on. The student didn't want to say. He took the student to his room
a bed check. He found seven or eight boys in one room and after some questions found out
members had received phone calls from a group of high
school girls from another school who were staying at the same hotel. The girls had
said if the boys
went to the back parking lot they would give them a show. The students then left their
with cameras. The grievant then did another bed check, discussed the matter with hotel
then returned to his room.
On Monday, April 8, 2002 the District's Superintendent, Loras Kruser, became
the grievant had let the suspended student play in the Metrodome tournament. Kruser
matter with Boyle and made arrangements to meet with the grievant on Thursday, April 11,
The grievant was not in the school district on April 9, and April 10, 2002. During that time
became aware that pictures taken a student at the Minneapolis hotel were being passed
high school and that the pictures contained frontal nudity.
Kruser, Boyle and the grievant met after school on Thursday, April 11, 2002. The
explained that he believed the rainout and the forfeited game should count towards the
suspension. Kruser disagreed and directed that the student sit out two more games. The
had the student sit out the next two scheduled games, played on April 9 and April 15,
also wanted the pictures taken at the Minnesota hotel. Kruser nor Boyle had any idea of how
grievant should go about obtaining them. The grievant offered that the only way he could
was to offer amnesty to the members of the team provided the pictures where turned in.
concluded by telling the grievant he wanted the pictures and for the grievant to do what he
to do to get the pictures (Tr., p. 48). Shortly thereafter the grievant obtained the
turned them over to Kruser.
Thereafter, on May 20, 2002 Kruser sent the following disciplinary letter to the
REASONS FOR RECOMMENDATION FOR
1. During the baseball team's trip to the Metrodome in
Minneapolis, Minnesota, on April
4-6, 2002, you failed to provide proper supervision to the students in that:
a. Students were
left at the hotel with no one in charge.
b. Students left
at the hotel and took sexually explicit pictures of a group of girls
also staying at the hotel.
c. Students were
left unsupervised at the hotel hot tub and male and female
students were in each other's hotel rooms.
2. When you became aware of the students' misconduct,
you failed to take any
3. During the baseball team's trip to the Metrodome in
Minneapolis, Minnesota, on April
4-6, 2002, you permitted a student who was ineligible under the student athletic code as a
result of a suspension to play while at the same time, refusing to permit another ineligible
student to play as a result of suspension. This action violated the Student Athletic/Activities
Code (Board Policy IGDJ R).
4. You have consistently failed and
refused to run the receipts and expenditures of the
Miner Baseball Fund, a student activity account, through the school business office in
violation of Board Policy IGDG.
For all of these reasons, I have
recommended that a hearing be scheduled by the
School Board to consider the foregoing and that the Board consider terminating your baseball
coaching contract and all other coaching assignments held by you.
Dated this 20th
day of May 2002.
/s/ Loras Kruser
On June 6, 2002 the Shullsburg School Board met to consider Kruser's
grievant was present and the following minutes were taken:
SCHOOL BOARD OF THE SCHOOL DISTRICT OF
June 6, 2002
The next matter on the agenda was a hearing related to an
administrative recommendation to
terminate the coach contracts of Tim Strang. Mr. Strang appeared at the hearing with his
representative, Joyce Bos. Mr. Strang had requested an open hearing.
The school's attorney explained the
procedure that would be used at the hearing. Mr. Kruser
explained the factual basis of his recommendation and described in detail his reasons for
that the Board terminate Mr. Strang's coaching contracts. The reasons for the
attached to these minutes.
Mr. Strang then explained why he felt the
recommendations lacked merit. A number of
parents and a student supported Mr. Strang's explanation.
After Mr. Strang concluded his presentation, the Board retired
to closed session to determine
whether or not it had any questions to ask of Mr. Kruser or Mr. Strang. The Board returned
session and a number of questions were asked of Mr. Strang, Mr. Kruser and a parent by the
attorney on behalf of the Board.
The Board then returned to closed session
to deliberate on and discuss the recommendations
and the response.
After discussion, the Board reconvened in
open session. The Board determined that, during
the trip to the Metrodome, sexually explicit pictures of girls from another school had been
members of the baseball team and an ineligible student had been permitted to play in a game.
moved and seconded that Mr. Strang be suspended from coaching for a period of one year
2002 June 30, 2003). Those voting in favor of the motion: all Board members upon
roll call vote.
Mr. Strang then read a statement to the
Board and tendered his resignation from all
extracurricular assignments and activities. It was moved and seconded that Mr. Strang's
be accepted and, upon unanimous roll call vote, the resignation was accepted.
In addition the following pertinent minutes were officially
recorded by School Board Clerk Emmett
. . .
"The Board finds that Mr. Strang failed to provide proper
supervision to the students in that
students left the hotel and took sexually explicit pictures of a group of girls.
The Board finds that Mr. Strang permitted
an ineligible student to play in the Metrodome and
that this violated the Student Athletic Code. This also violated Board policy."
. . .
On June 6, 2002 the grievant submitted the following letter:
In regards to the Spring 2002 Baseball season, it has been a
very enjoyable spring to work
with the group of student/athletes on my team. Even though our win/loss record doesn't
profound success it is an improvement over the last few years and helps us come closer to
some of our team goals.
Attitude of the players has been the main reason why this
is successful in my eyes.
Winning or losing these guys exhibit a will to do their best, which is all I can ask for. I feel
has believed all season that we can be competitive with any team on the field with us. I'd
like to think
that the attitude and desire these guys possess is a reflection of themselves, their families and
I have always been a person who is
positive, outgoing, enthusiastic and determined. I believe
this is the way I approach all things in life including teaching and coaching. It is with this
I will explain and if necessary defend any occurrences, situations and rumors that have or
been a part of this baseball season.
As for the issue of suspension of one of
my team's players, it was my understanding as a result
of an athletic council meeting and preceding and subsequent discussions with the A.D. that
would be suspended 3.6 games, which is 20% of an 18 game schedule. I realize 20 games
are on the
schedule but this was adjusted to 18 because this is closer to the actual # of games that are
average per season. (In 11 years of coaching spring baseball we have never had a season of
games, including tournaments.) In all fairness to the player involved, 18 games is a
number to go by.
At the time of the council meeting I
disagreed with 3 major issues. Number one, we did not
have a signed referral by anyone indicating that this player was guilty of any crime.
player admitted to such offenses when asked, I felt in the absence of a referral by the police
adult community member that we should not be meeting in the first place. If the A.D. or
actively sought out code violations every time there was a hint of impropriety then that is all
would spend their time doing. However, we as a council could see that the actions by this
were heading him down a dangerous path. By stepping in at this time we had the
opportunity to help
prevent future problems for this player. This I strongly agreed with and would have voted
abstained because I would be his next (in season) coach.
Issue number two dealt with an individual
on the coaching staff who was directly involved
with the misguided activities of the young man in question. I felt as a matter of ethics that
should have not only abstained from voting (they did but only after being instructed to do so
rest of the coaching staff) but also recused themselves of anything associated with this
meeting and player. Instead, this person influenced the meeting by staying in and not
council aware of all the facts. I think the council felt that the individual player in question
seemed to show little remorse for his actions. I felt
uncomfortable with this and questioned this
player later. I discovered that he was told, point
blank, by the coach that they did not want him to apologize to them. This player was, in my
fearful that other possible retribution might happen by the teacher/coach. He said that he
say nothing in the meeting for that reason. If the teacher/coach, ethically, would have not
in the meeting, then maybe we would have had a different attitude of remorse by the player.
However, as it stands we will never know.
The third issue I had with this meeting
one of punishment to be served. I requested that
the suspension of 3.6 games be served excluding the Metrodome tournament. Reasoning
threefold. One, this is a special event that the players have to work and save money for to
opportunity to do only once every 3 years or so. The school provides none of the funding
trip. Second, we often play this tournament in the summer (3 of 4 previous trip) were in the
but due to field availability at the Dome this years trip fell in April. Third, we have set past
by allowing a football player to play a Homecoming game while suspended because his mom
driving a considerable distance to see him play (this happened to be a star running back).
Although the council didn't agree with this
idea I didn't fight it because at the time of the
meeting we had two games scheduled before the Dome trip and I knew that a third was to be
to the week or two preceding the trip. This was due to a scheduling conflict with the school
This would result in the player sitting .6 of the first game of the Dome trip. I still didn't
this but I felt that maybe this extreme of a punishment would help to get this individual back
As it turns out we had two games
cancelled before the trip. One game was cancelled due to
rain (even though we practiced outside, River Ridge Illinois didn't want to play because it
was a non-conference game that "didn't mean anything" except to the player in
question). The other was
cancelled due to Argyle forfeiting because they didn't have enough players. The player on
sat out our 2nd scheduled game at Warren on 3/26 and I chose to count the
game scheduled on 3/25
against Argyle towards a game served. I told the A.D. of my decision and he said that it
choice because he had no precedent to base any decision on. I chose to do this because this
something totally beyond our control and the player was fully prepared to serve his
night. The third scheduled game was vs. River Ridge, IL. This game was cancelled due to
I knew it would not be made up at a later date. The player in question then sat the first
or about 1 hr. and 15 minutes of a 4½ inning 1 hr. and 40 minute timed game. This in
constituted more that a .6 suspension. The player was then allowed to play in the
2nd game of the
Dome trip on 4/5.
I then sat the player for the following game on Tuesday April
9th vs. East Dubuque. This, I
felt, completed the 3.6 game suspension. I realize this was not past practice (except in the
previously) but felt that the player was prepared to serve the 3.6 game suspension but was
do so because of situations beyond his control. In no other sport does the question of
into play. In discussions with the football coach he has NEVER had a game cancelled due to
or other circumstances. On rare occasions the Basketball teams may cancel a game due to
weather but that game is ALWAYS made up. In baseball it is not. I believe that I acted I
interest of the player involved but knew that I would have to defend my position.
After thorough discussion and I feel some
apprehension by the A.D. and Superintendent, it
was decided that the Argyle game would not count as a forfeit and the player was required to
another game suspension. He did so in the first game of a doubleheader vs. River Ridge,
WI on April
As I see this, the only question become
one of not whether the suspension was served, but
did I as a coach hand it down correctly. I believe due to reasons previously stated that I did
thing for the student/athlete. The suspension itself has been served.
Another MAJOR issue this season is one
of practice facilities. As I understood from a School
Board committee meeting the field in the back of the school was built for the softball team
it was to be repaired and then used by that team. In the absence of a clear directive from
I feel this situation has blown up to the point of ridiculousness. Field use was never a past
was always compromised before the current softball coach came into tenure. This softball
been unyielding and uncompromising in her position. Although, I applaud the stance she has
for her players benefit, the fact of the matter remains. The facilities at the school are simply
suitable and are too dangerous to conduct and effective and safe baseball practice. I believe I
shown that I am willing go compromise in this regard. I also feel that the lack of a practice
due to games played by the softball team at the park and the giving up of the field that I have
on several occasions, has had a negative effect on my player's skill levels. Reasons stated in
attached sheet should adequately address why this should be a non-issue and the baseball
given first opportunity to practice at the park.
As for other issues such as intentionally
trying to injure girl softball players, I take extreme
offense to this accusation. I have devoted my life to the betterment of students and athletes
I would NEVER intentionally harm another human being. Case closed.
As for the matter of rumor, rumor, rumor (hooters, hot tubs,
etc.) I will only address these
issues by not addressing them. I have been a teacher and coach in this community for the
years. I believe my positive contributions speak for themselves. I would not partake or
allow my players to partake in any action that would be illegal or immoral, for that matter.
wishes any specific rumor addressed then I suggest that they stand up and ask the question
and I will
put to rest any notion of improper activities. If the rumor mill wants to continue to operate
one having the gumption to step forward and ask ME the truth, then I will not stoop to the
the gossipers and justify their words by addressing them.
Respectfully submitted, (5/6/02)
Timothy B. Strang
The District does not have any written polices or procedures
concerning the duties or
responsibilities of teachers who are to supervise students on an overnight stay. The District's
Code is silent concerning whether student suspensions have to be consecutive games. The
Athletic Code is also silent concerning the impact of forfeitures or cancellation of games on a
student's suspension. The record demonstrates that in the past student suspensions have been
non-consecutive. The record also demonstrates that this is the first time the grievant has ever
The District acknowledges that it has the burden to demonstrate the grievant
misconduct and that the discipline it imposed was fair and justified. The District contends
be no question the grievant engaged in misconduct. The District avers the grievant allowed a
suspended player to play two baseball games for which the player was ineligible. The
the grievant manipulated the rules and manufactured a reason to permit the student to play.
The District points out the grievant was a member of the Athletic Council at the time
student was suspended. The District also points out the grievant argued at the Athletic
meeting that the discipline should be only for twenty percent (20 %) of a an eighteen (18)
twenty percent (20%) of a twenty (20) game season. The District asserts the grievant argued
Athletic Council meeting that the baseball team never played all its games because of weather
forfeits and the Council therefore reduced the suspension to twenty percent (20%) of eighteen
The District also points out that the grievant argued before the Athletic Council that the
games should not be included as part of the suspension because it was a once in a life time
The District argues the grievant was aware the Athletic Council appeared to disfavor the idea
excluding the Metrodome games.
The District further argues that Boyle's letter to the student evidences that games that
played do not count towards suspension. The District points out that in that letter Boyle
the student his eligibility would be restored on April 2, 2002 unless changed "due to
etc." (Employer Exh. 1). The District avers this put the student on notice the suspension
end on April 2, 2002 if games were cancelled. The District argues that when two of the first
baseball games were not played the grievant carefully avoided returning to the Athletic
permission to allow the student to play in the Metrodome tournament. The District contends
grievant unilaterally decided to include the forfeited and rainout game in the student's
period. The District argues that although the grievant had a purported consultation with
leaving for the Metrodome, there is nothing in the record to conclude that Boyle had
student's eligibility. The District also contends Boyle does not have the authority to restore a
student's eligibility and that appeals of Athletic Council decisions are to go the School Board.
The District also points out that upon return from Minneapolis the grievant said
either Boyle or Kruser about having permitted the student to play in two games. Kruser
the matter from a parent. The District contends that at the Boyle, Kruser and grievant
grievant argued the student had sat the twenty percent (20%) and that the Metrodome was a
in a lifetime opportunity for a student. The District contends the grievant's confusion over
games do or do not count toward suspension is at best contrived and at worse specious.
The District also argues that there is no question the grievant improperly supervised
during the Metrodome trip. The District points out an inappropriate activity occurred after
The District avers the grievant made no attempt to confiscate photographs, took no steps to
team members, nor did he advise other school officials of the matter. The District further
when the grievant was confronted with the picture taking incident by Kruser the grievant's
was to grant amnesty to the students. The District concludes that the grievant's failure to
sufficient supervision over his team resulted in behavior prohibited by the athletic code of
The District also contends the grievant's suspension for one year from his coaching
justified. The District points out it has the highest expectations students will act in a manner
do credit to their community. The District points out its policy requires violations be
reported to the
Athletic Director, that penalties be assessed for misconduct and that coaches enforce those
The District avers the grievant determined he could establish his own rules if he disagreed
decision of the Athletic Council. The District also argues the grievant violated Wisconsin
Interscholastic Athletic Association (WIAA) rules when he allowed an ineligible student to
District further argues the grievant's team members learned, when an ineligible student was
to play and when their disorderly conduct and curfew violation went unpunished that rules
broken with impunity. Finally, the District argues the grievant's failure to recognize he did
wrong demonstrates he does not see the rules as applying to him and that it is unsurprising
the same standard for his team.
The District also argues that if the Arbitrator concludes the District did not have just
to suspend the grievant or that a one (1) year suspension is too harsh that it should be
impose a lesser suspension or a written reprimand.
In its reply brief the District asserts the grievant had an obligation to ensure the
in their hotel rooms after curfew. Further, that he failed to take any action afterwards and
directed to retrieve the photographs used the opportunity to avoid imposing any discipline on
members. The District avers the grievant was aware of his obligations and he simply failed
through in meeting those obligations.
The District also argues the Association contention the grievant was justified in
suspended player to play ignores the fact that on only two occasions did students sit out
non-consecutive games, one of which was over the objections of the coach. The District also
the Athletic Council reached a consensus that an exception would not be made for this
student and the Minneapolis trip. The District avers the grievant was at the Athletic Council
and chose to disregard their decision. The District points out the grievant argued a
suspension had been served by the student. In conclusion the District asserts the penalty
the grievant was not too harsh because the grievant did everything he could to undermine the
Council, the Code of Conduct for athletes and even his own rules.
The District would have the undersigned deny the grievance.
The Association points out the District identified two reasons for disciplining the
Sexually explicit pictures of girls from another school had been taken by members of the
team and an ineligible student had been permitted to play in a game. The Association
District did not demonstrate by a preponderance of the evidence the District had just cause to
The Association argues there was no forewarning of the consequences of his actions
notice given to the grievant. The Association points out the grievant was never given any
rules or regulations to follow when taking students on a trip, was never told of any possible
consequences that would happen to him if students failed to follow his directives, and the
never reviewed with the grievant the expectation of coaches in terms of responsibility for
Association contends the grievant directed his students to stay in their rooms. When students
to do so he performed a second bed check and stayed awake until 4:00 a.m. to make sure no
their room again. The Association contends the grievant did everything reasonably he could
supervising the trip to Minneapolis.
The Association argues there was no rule given to the grievant to inform him of what
District expected with respect to supervising students on a field trip. The Association also
there is no District policy as to how a suspension was to be served when games where
Association also contends the District did not attempt prior to disciplining the grievant to
grievant of what rule or order of management he disobeyed. The Association also points out
when the grievant told Kruser he had no idea how to get the photographs Kruser offered no
suggestions or direction on what to do. When the grievant came up with the idea of amnesty
told him to do what you need to do to get the pictures (Tr. p. 92). The Association points
grievant was successful in obtaining the photographs and turned them over to Kruser.
The Association argues the District did not conduct a fair and objective investigation
it failed to conduct any investigation. The Association also points out Kruser did not ask
student turned in the photographs nor did he direct the Athletic Council to determine whether
students should be disciplined for conduct that occurred during the Minneapolis trip.
The Association contends it is unclear why the grievant is being disciplined for
he did not do. He did not violate curfew, leave his room and take photographs. The
argues the grievant believed the student had satisfied his suspension.
The Association argues the District did not apply its rules, orders and penalties even
The Association points out students have served non-consecutive suspensions in the past and
District has directed a coach to allow a student to participate in a once in a life time
Association further points out Kruser acknowledged the Athletic Code does not describe how
suspension should be served (Tr. p. 31).
The Association argues that given the grievant's exemplary work record and
discipline was too severe. The Association points out the grievant had never been disciplined
District. The Association further points out the grievant did not hide the fact he intended to
student but discussed the matter with the Athletic Director prior to doing so.
In its reply brief the Association argues the District has attempted to expand the
disciplining the grievant. The Association contends the District is limited to the taking
and playing an ineligible player. The Association also argues the District claim to be the
the idea of retrieving the photographs ignores the fact the grievant came up with the sole
methodology for retrieving the photographs.
The Association also contends the District's assertion the grievant had some nefarious
for playing the suspended student to purposely evade the Athletic Council's decision to
student is without merit. The Association argues the rainout occurred on April 2, the team
Minneapolis at 8:00 a.m. on April 4, and, as the School District was on spring break, it
been impossible to convene the Athletic Council or the School Board.
The Association also argues that to prove misconduct the District should have
the matter. The Association avers that instead the District chose to focus on the photographs
by the students and the District's interpretation of how to serve a student suspension.
The Association would have the Arbitrator sustain the grievance, direct that the
record be cleansed, and to make the grievant whole by directing the District to pay one-half
salary he would of earned coaching baseball and basketball.
The record demonstrates that on May 20, 2002 Kruser recommended, as noted
(4) reasons to terminate the grievant's extracurricular contracts for coaching assignments.
record also demonstrates that on June 6, 2002 the School Board, in determining to suspend
grievant from coaching duties for the 2002-2003 school year, narrowed its decision to two
factors: that the grievant failed to provide proper supervision in that students left the hotel
sexually explicit pictures, and, that in permitting an ineligible student to play in the
grievant violated the Student Athletic Code and Board policy. Whether or not the grievant
committed any of the other allegations raised by Kruser was therefore considered by the
the District chose not to discipline the grievant for those allegations. Thus, for example, the
grievant failed to discipline team members for alleged misconduct while in Minneapolis is
The School Board was aware of this and chose not to discipline the grievant for failing to
any of the students. The Arbitrator notes here that Boyle, Kruser and the Board were aware
students were on the trip and none referred the matter to the Athletic Council.
The burden is on the District to demonstrate the grievant failed to properly supervise
in that they left the hotel and took sexually explicit pictures. The District has failed to meet
burden. The record demonstrates the District has no written policies, guidelines or rules
how to supervise students on an overnight trip. Nor has the District presented any evidence
would lead to a conclusion that the grievant was even lax in his duties concerning the
curfew and the taking of the photographs. The District did not dispute the grievant
performed a bed
check at 11:30 p.m. and did not dispute that all team members were in their appropriate
rooms at that
time. The District did not even contend the team members were somehow unaware that they
not suppose to leave their rooms after the bed check. The District did not dispute the
testimony he left his door ajar with the chain attached. The District did not dispute the
testimony that when he was awoken by a disturbance in the hallway he checked, found out
going on, and performed a second bed check making sure all team members were back in
The District did not even proffer what the grievant did improperly between 11:30 p.m. and
Thus the Arbitrator finds the District has failed to meet its burden of proof and concludes the
did not have just cause to discipline the grievant because students broke curfew, left the hotel
took sexually explicit photographs.
The Arbitrator also finds that, as the Association contends, the District failed to
investigate this matter. In particular there is no evidence the School Board or Kruser
of the team members who violated curfew to determine how they were able to do so without
grievant's knowledge, or, for that matter, to dispute the grievant's claim he did a bed check
his door ajar.
The burden is on the District to also demonstrate the grievant violated the Student
Code and Board policy when the grievant allowed an ineligible student to play in the
The District has also failed to meet this burden. As noted above, the record demonstrates
has no policies or guidelines concerning how to deal with student suspensions and rain-outs
forfeitures. There is no evidence the matter has ever been discussed at an Athletic Council
or by the School Board. There is no evidence the grievant received a copy of the student's
disciplinary notice informing the student would become eligible to play after April 2,
cancellations, etc. At most the District could claim the grievant violated the spirit of the
Code had the grievant attempted to hide his actions. However, the record demonstrates the
discussed the matter with Boyle and the District presented no evidence to dispute the
that Boyle informed him there was no precedent in the District to follow and for the grievant
his best judgment. As noted above, the District has no policies concerning how cancellations
forfeitures impact on suspensions and there is no mandate that a suspension be a consecutive
if a cancellation or forfeiture occurs. The Arbitrator notes here that the District did not
grievant improperly asked the Athletic Director for guidance. There is also no evidence the
informed Boyle he exceeded his authority in this matter. Thus the Arbitrator finds the
failed to meet its burden of proof and concludes the District did not have just cause to
grievant for permitting an ineligible student to play in the Metrodome tournament.
Therefore, based upon the above and foregoing, and the testimony, evidence and
presented, the Arbitrator finds the District did not have just cause to suspend the grievant for
from all coaching activities. The District is directed to cleanse the grievant's record and to
whole for all lost wages.
The District did not have just cause to suspend the grievant for one year from all
assignments. The District is directed to cleanse the grievant's record and make him whole
for all lost
Dated at Madison, Wisconsin, this 29th day of April, 2003.
Edmond J. Bielarczyk, Jr., Arbitrator