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Charlie Bottita: Bias by school district against Trailsend forced the club's closure

I was sent the Pamplin Media Group article from last month headlined "Oregon City equestrian coach likely author of own investigation.

Charlie BottitaThe article outlines events that took place in or around 2019. During that same year, I filed complaints with numerous folks regarding the volleyball program at Oregon City High School.

I can only now believe that the complaints I submitted met the same demise as the complaints against the equestrian coach. Both victims in the two programs were the students. Yet the athletic director, school superintendent and chairs of the school board gave much of the benefit to the coaches.

I did a lot of research and outlining many violations within the volleyball program, even school district ethics violations. I took my complaints all the way up to Evon Tekorius (who was the chair of the Oregon City School Board at the time). She told me that the board was satisfied with the handling of my complaints. She also said I could not escalate my complaint because I was not residing in the school district. So I wrote a blog and linked all the emails and documentation I had presented to every level of my complaints.

I posted this publicly and it was read by many folks: volleyballjournal.blogspot.com.

My complaints got swept under the rug, as were the equestrian complaints. But one big difference. Those mentioned in the Pamplin Media article have been widely exposed in their mistakes. Public records revealed the truth. The state school officials are involved in an investigation. The county DA is too.

The following year, 2020, not much had changed with the OCHS volleyball program. Wilsonville paid a $250 fine. OCHS paid a $250 fine. NW Elite Volleyball Club was still operating and given priority gym space. Kathy McCord, who submitted her resignation as the school district investigated complaints, was still a "volunteer" coach at OCHS. There were five OCHS VB coaches that were affiliated with Northwest Elite Volleyball Club. A poor lesson was taught to children: "If you are not following rules, you will be rewarded. If you speak up, you will be shut down."

Trailsend Volleyball Club had been treated unfairly. There are documented emails that show the intention of the athletic director at OCHS to eliminate Trailsend Volleyball Club, a clear violation of school district policy. OC School District gave NW Elite Volleyball club priority access to gym space. Regardless of all the data provided to them by me. Just imagine if a teacher from the school district owns a Dutch Bros. They tell their students that they stand a better chance to pass the class if you buy drinks from my store. Those that choose to go to a competitor are flunked in the class. And when called out on it, the teacher quits, but comes back to volunteer time at the school in the same classroom. The school continues to support the volunteer teacher. Students would feel a bit upset that their grade may depend on that teacher, even though that teacher is "just a volunteer." The school places a large order at Dutch Bros continuing their support. Seems silly, but that is what I believe happened between OCHS and NWE.

So here we are today, 2021. I do not know how students/players are doing in either program. The owner of the club and focus of my complaints is not coaching at OCHS this year. She sold/transferred the club to the head coach for the Wilsonville HS volleyball program. That club still has many OCHS coaches, coaching at various levels. The club still utilizes many gym resources from OCHS as well as other OC schools. The bias by the OC School District against Trailsend Volleyball Club forced the club close down. A once vibrant OC-based volleyball club is now no longer.

Maybe the OCHS athletic program has recovered, and the student athletes are able to excel at their sport. And that they do not have to worry about adults treating them badly for the sake of their own benefits. Time will tell once the investigations are completed. I hope the state/county/city can make changes to benefit the students.

I plan on sending a link to this blog to the state Teacher Standards and Practices Commission that you mentioned in your article. They may have some interest to look into how my complaints were handled.

Thank you for writing the article. I hope some positive changes happen.

Charlie Bottita is a Happy Valley resident.


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