Open Letter to parents and former teammates of Waimea High School

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

superintendent.

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?

In

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

investigation.

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

games forfeited?

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

Hanapepe

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