On Saturday April 28, 2012 my daughter, Nyla Rodgers had softball practice here in Williamston, NC. I arrived to the practice as my daughter was on the field. After sitting for a few minutes outside it became too cold for me to sit out there and I decided to park my car where I could observe the practice from inside. Near the end of practice my daughter entered the dugout. Present in the dugout was child “L” (Coach Amy’s daughter) and child “B”, another player who from my observance, is very well acquainted with child “L”. Amy, the coach, was preoccupied with speaking with another parent at home plate and her back was to the dugout. The parent of child “B” was across the field near the opposite dugout and did not witness what happened as well. There were no other adults around to witness the incident in question.***********************************
While observing in my car, Nyla entered the dugout and proceeded to pack her things. As she was trying to place her bat in her bag child “B” snatched it and was trying to pull it away from her. After a brief struggle my daughter obtained her bat. I continued to watch still in the car as Nyla proceeded to pick up her helmet. It was then that child “B” snatched the helmet away as Nyla was trying to place it in her bag. The helmet then fell to the ground and child “B” proceeded to kick the helmet as Nyla tried to pick it up, nearly kicking her face. It was then that I decided my daughter’s well being was compromised and since there were no other adults paying attention to the situation I got out of my car and headed to the dugout. As I was walking towards the dugout child “B” still continued to kick Nyla’s helmet. When I arrived to the dugout I said to child “B”, “Stop picking with her and give her her things.” My tone was firm but not loud. Child “B” then stopped kicking her helmet and just looked at me. I then told my daughter to “Stop letting people bully her.” I also told child “B” I was going to tell her mother and proceeded in the direction where her mother was standing. I was intercepted by the coach, Amy, so I just told her what happened and prepared to leave. She told me she would take care of it and headed to the dugout to reprimand child “B”. I left before seeing any of this. I assumed the matter was addressed and done. I did not receive any other phone calls, complaints, concerns, etc. from the coach, the parent, or any other concerned parties that day. **************************************
On Wednesday, May 2, 2012, 5 days after the incident I received the initial and ONLY call at 4:00pm from Amy the coach addressing the situation. Amy proceeded to tell me that we had to talk about the matter that happened 5 days prior. She then told me that things had gone over her head and it had reached Allen Oversby, Martin County Parks and Recreation Director. She had also been in contact with child “B”’s mother during the 5 days of no contact with me. Coach Amy told me that she was told by her daughter, child “L”, that Nyla hit child “B” in the face with a batting glove first. I knew this was not true because as I stated before, I watched the entire incident unfold from my car. I was very upset at the fact that I was not contacted prior to the incident escalating into a disciplinary matter. It was mentioned that there was going to be a possible 2 –game suspension against Nyla. I was totally blindsided and realized that all other parties had been discussing and collaborating over the course of the 5 days and a story had been fabricated against my daughter. Coach Amy then mentioned that she has had this problem before with my daughter. I asked her why she has not consulting with Nyla’s father or me about the situation prior to today. She said that there was a group meeting involving all parents and players that I do not recall. I realized that Coach Amy had already come to an uneducated conclusion about the incident and I no longer wanted to speak with her. I asked her who was the Executive party that I needed to speak with in regards to the matter and she told me to contact Allen Oversby. I immediately called Allen, who NEVER contacted me or Nyla’s father over the course of the 5 days!!! He told me that he had spoken with Amy about the incident and was given the same story about Nyla hitting child “B” in the face with a batting glove and from the information told to him by Coach Amy he was considering the 2-game suspension. I then asked him how disciplinary action was put in place when I, the only adult witness in the matter, had not been contacted by anyone since Saturday when the incident occurred. He then seemed a bit puzzled over the phone. I then told him that Amy, Christina (child “B”’s mother), or any other parties involved had not contacted me until right before I contacted him. Allen then said he would give Amy a call back and would be at practice later that evening at 5:30pm to discuss the situation with all parties. I told him that Nyla’s father, Jamaul Rodgers, would be bringing her and that I would be there ASAP.************************
When I arrived to the field after leaving work, Amy, Christina (child “B”’s mother), Allen, and Nyla’s father Jamaul were in a meeting on the field. I proceeded to ask my boyfriend, Jamaul Rodgers, what was going on. He then told me that child “B”’s mother had threatened to press charges against my daughter if Allen did not suspend her for 2 games. I then told her that I watched the whole incident unfold and this did not happen. She then said that child “B” had a red mark on her face on the day of the incident after it happened. I realized that Christina was using manipulation tactics to exonerate her child and the Director and Coach were allowing her to do so. I also realized that the situation was escalating into something beyond our control, stories had already been discussed behind the scene, and my child was “prosecuted”, “tried”, and “convicted” without the presence of myself or her father and she was the victim!!! So I stated that my daughter doesn’t have to play and we left. I said as we left that we were seeking legal counsel and to expect correspondence from us later.
On May 3, 2012, I consulted with legal counsel in regards to the incident. I then contacted the Director of Martin County Parks and Recreation, Allen Oversby, and let him know that my daughter will be attending next practice. Her father and I felt it unfair to her to keep her from playing because we were upset. He then proceeded to tell me that he agreed but there would still be a 2 game suspension. I informed him that his determination is biased and unfair because the situation was not discussed with all parties involved. Her father and I were not contacted at all. Allen Oversby seems adamant about sticking with the 2 game suspensions even though he has not discussed the issue with all parties. I then requested that he fax me the process and the suspension policy for the Parks and recreation department. He then proceeded to tell me that because of the meeting on May 2, 2012 at the field, he feels me and Nyla’s father should not be present at the next practice because we left upset and irate. I told him that this was unfair. I told him he needs to type this up as well and fax it to me. I am currently awaiting those faxes.**************************************
My daughter’s personality is not reflective of the aggression she is being accused of.She was bullied and I feel child “B”, the other little girl, did not want to get in trouble so she said what she needed to with hopes of avoiding getting in trouble. I understand that kids will do this and we as responsible adults should be able to recognize such behavior and address it in an appropriate manner. I feel I should have been called prior to 5 days later, a meeting should have been set up between the parents, players involved, and the coach and it could have been resolved in a more efficient and fair manner. Coach Amy initially did not handle the situation appropriately and now she is trying to cover herself at the expense of my child. I am deeply hurt, angry, and disappointed that such an insignificant situation has been manipulated to crucify the character and integrity of my child.
***It is my hope that this petition will aid in the immediate reversal of the 2 game suspension that was unjustly give to my 7 year old child, Nyla Rodgers. Her team’s first game is May 8, 2012 at 7:00. So it is imperative that all that will, sign this petition before the end of today so that it can be presented Monday to the appropriate parties. I refuse to sit back and let others manipulate the system to cover their incompetence and lack of professionalism at the expense of my child. I am not asking for or promoting any violence or retaliation of any parties in this situation. I only ask that after reading this, if you feel as strongly as I do and want a fair and just conclusion please take a moment and sign. It is my goal to have this issue resolved peacefully. Nyla’s father and I thank you in advance for your support and concern. *******
From: Jamaul “Woody” Rodgers and Stacy House