We want to apologize on our son’s (Jason) behalf for any distraction that his
suspension and subsequent dismissal may have caused. We would like to thank
those of you who have stood by him. To his accusers, we hope you and your
family never have to experience what we are going through.
We were not
fighting for our son’s “privilege” to be a part of the team. We were
fighting for his rights to “due process.” All we have seen were
accusations from individuals who were questioned by the Administration. We did
not have the opportunity to ask questions and confront the accusers. We were
told that the accuser is a minor and his rights had to be protected. What about
our son’s rights?
From the beginning, Jason has denied any use or
possession of marijuana or any other illegal substance. He has made his denials
directly to the coaches, the principal and the district
Some of you were subjected to numerous questioning by the
Administration and we sympathize with your feelings of
“intimidation.” However, was there a specific time frame when the
alleged offense occurred? In our meetings, the time frame varied from your
outing to Ala Moana till you returned to the hotel, then your outing to Waikiki
till you returned, and then from 11 p.m. till 12 a.m. It’s hard to believe any
statements due to conflicting time frames. Also, it seems that a negative drug
test led to a change in dismissal reason from “use” to
“possession” of marijuana. The accuser claims that our son held a bag
of marijuana and rolled a joint. We heard that the accuser’s mother stated a
different version than that of her son’s. She stated that her son said Jason
smoked marijuana and that his cousin gave it to him. Why such a different
version when his mother said she only knows what her son has told her?
summary, our son was suspended by his coach on the accusation that he smoked
marijuana. He volunteered to take a drug test but was ignored. After
questioning witnesses, our son was dismissed from the team for violating
Section II B of the Athletic Rules which states, ‘I will not use or have in my
possession marijuana, LSD, narcotics, hallucinogens, in any form or any other
types of drugs, the use of which is considered unlawful.”
Our son took
a prearranged drug test on the same day we were informed by the principal of
his dismissal. We appealed his decision to the District Superintendent. We
still thought marijuana use was the reason for his dismissal. The District
Superintendent took our appeal and told us that he would do his own independent
Our son’s drug test was negative but the District
Superintendent decided to uphold the principal’s decision due to
“possession of marijuana.” Notice how the story has changed from
marijuana use to possession of marijuana. We requested written documentation of
the investigation and to confront the accuser. The principal refused to
release his written report citing confidentiality. He further stated that the
accuser and his parents refused to meet with us. Why they didn’t want to meet
with us after their son said he was willing to testify against our son is a
question that we can’t answer. Our son is also willing to testify that he did
not use or have marijuana in his possession. Why does the administration
believe the accuser but not the accused?
Also, how independent was the
District Superintendent’s investigation when he basically followed the
principal’s investigation? Rebuttals submitted by us were discussed with the
district superintendent, principal, athletic director and other involved
parties (whomever they may be). Why hold discussions with those who rendered
the decision for dismissal, when the district superintendent told us he would
conduct his own investigation?
Further, there was no concrete evidence to
prove wrongdoing on our son’s part. There were only allegations, conflicting
time and statements. The most notable conflicting statement was between the
accuser and his mother.
One interesting fact that came out of our meetings
was of the administration’s claim of consistency in dealing with violations.
Athletes who deny wrongdoing are “let off” if no one is willing to
testify against him. Athletes later found to have violated the athletic rules
were not punished due to the season being over. Why aren’t they punished and
Please understand that we are not contesting our son’s
dismissal, we are contesting the basis for his dismissal which are the
unsubstantiated, inconsistent and untrue accusations by unidentified accusers
who are unwilling to face our son — the accused. They cited confidentiality
and the protection of rights due to the accusers being minors. What about our
son’s rights as he too is a minor? Where is his due process?
We hope this
never happens to any of you.
Russell and Joy Nakata