News

Coach's e-mail angers parent

A Mountain View High School parent asked district board members this week to fire the school's varsity girls basketball coach for sending an "unprofessional" e-mail to her players with pictures of a shirtless man.

"This just blew me away," Shariff Estremera told the board on Monday night. "I believe it was an act of misconduct. I believe the school deserves better. Please pay special attention."

Estremera forwarded a copy of the e-mail to Mountain View-Los Altos High School District administrators and other parents, but wanted the board to take more punitive actions. Trustees would not comment on the case since Estremera spoke as a community member and the discussion was not on the agenda. After the meeting, board members told the Voice they had not yet had time to discuss the case.

After receiving a copy of the e-mail, Principal Keith Moody and Superintendent Barry Groves both spoke with the coach, Judy Auclair, and conducted an investigation, but would not comment on specifics of the case. Groves said he did not fire the coach, adding that the district and high school are "dealing with the situation."

"We have done what we feel is appropriate," Groves said. "We are moving on."

In the Jan. 5 e-mail to her players, Auclair pasted a few photos of a shirtless male model in sexy poses and asked the girls to "Guess who this is."

"Have another look!" she wrote as the e-mail scrolls down. "Still don't know?" At the end of the e-mail she wrote: "Neither do I ... but who cares?"

In an e-mail to the Voice, Auclair said only that she considered the matter to be closed.

According another parent who asked not to be named, the e-mail was based on a conversation about boys the coach had with her 10 players. She said most of the girls and parents were not upset by the photos, and added that in her opinion the e-mail did not merit the firing of Auclair, who has been coaching at Mountain View High for six years.

"It was a joke. The girls didn't think about it. They were more upset about the brouhaha of the e-mail," the parent said. "They just want to play basketball."

Disappointed with the district's reaction and the reaction by other parents, Estremera also took a copy of the e-mail to the Mountain View Police Department. He said police told him the pictures were "two inches away from being pornographic." But police concluded they weren't pornographic.

"It is definitely not criminal," said police spokesperson Liz Wylie. "There has to be criminal intent. It has to be pornographic."

Estremera came to the school board meeting on Monday, Jan. 26, asking trustees to take further action against the coach. He said his daughter, a sophomore at Mountain View High, was offended by the e-mails, and that the team should have a more professional coach. Two other parents also contacted Moody about the e-mail, Estremera said.

The girls "need to be thinking about the game and not this stuff," said Estremera, who is in the Army Reserve and will be leaving for Iraq in March.

"I believe this is not something I should have to worry about when I am there," he told the board.

Because this is a personnel matter, any further discussion among trustees would take place in closed session, according to board president Judy Hannemann. But she added that board normally "trusts the powers that be."

The board can schedule a closed meeting to discuss the issue at any time if they decide, Hannemann added.

But until then, said trustee Susan Sweeley, "Everybody is aware and will be watching."

Comments

Posted by John McDonough, a resident of Cuesta Park
on Jan 30, 2009 at 6:57 am

I guess Mr. Estremera has never been to the beach.


Posted by Roger Blair, a resident of Shoreline West
on Jan 30, 2009 at 9:36 am

I agree with Mr McDonough,

the article clearly states that is was not against the law, that it was not pornography and that it was a model with no shirt....
(I think even Levis Strauss has a billboard ad like that...)

It might not be the smartest move to send something like it around to a basketball team, but hyping it to the extend that it ends up in the voice is clearly not smart either.

It is hard for me to imagine what agenda drives him on this.
Just imagine how this public discussion might impact the overly protected daughter, just because Mr. Estremera reads her emails, and than has to take this fact to the public.


Posted by FamilyMan, a resident of Jackson Park
on Jan 30, 2009 at 10:44 am

I have to say that the email which the coach sent to the team is very rude and unhealthy to the imaginations of the girls basketball team. It is very appalling that coach would have thought this was ok because afterall the girls are minors and lets reverse this scenario. Had it been a boys basketball team and they all recieved pictures of a topless woman, it would be a criminal act. I say 'shame on you coach, you have no tact'!!!


Posted by The Question Guy, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jan 30, 2009 at 12:13 pm

What would've happened if it was a male coach and male students with a picture of a hot woman with the tiniest "just barely legal" bikini?
Answer below please


Posted by Nick, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jan 30, 2009 at 2:38 pm

The Question Guy,

They would probably get fired. That's not what happened here though so why is that relevant? A topless woman and a topless man are two COMPLETELY different things. That's why it's legal for a man to walk with no shirt on in public, but not a woman.

If you think high school girls have never seen a man without his shirt on, you either don't have kids or don't know much about them. I bet most of the girls on the team thought it was funny. I think the parent overreacted.


Posted by oldschgrl, a resident of North Whisman
on Jan 30, 2009 at 3:15 pm

I have to agree with Nick, I think the father overreacted but come on
what father is not going to react to seeing a half naked guy on his teenage daughter's cell phone. I'm sure it was meant as harmless, stupid but harmless. She must be a good coach to get along that well with her girls and to know all their numbers/emails to pass that along. Give her a break.


Posted by Anonymous, a resident of Cuesta Park
on Jan 30, 2009 at 10:10 pm

I'm a player on the team, and this was just another, typical "Coach E-mail." She always sends us some strange jokes, facts, games, or riddles that are actually funny or just Coach being weird and wanting to make our days a little more interesting. The parent is using this particular email as evidence to fire Coach, which he has wanted to do since Day 1, and so he's going as far as he can with it. No harm was meant, and who hasn't seen a topless guy?


Posted by Ned, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jan 31, 2009 at 9:29 am

This parent has every right to object to the coach's behavior and demand disciplinary action. Even if no other parents complain, it's irrelevant. The coach stepped over the line with such behavoir, leaving me wondering just what kind of fool, in this day and age, would do such a thing. It really does not say much about her character or sense of appropriateness. These are minors and other people's children she is taking for granted with her warped sense of humor. The coach should focus on coaching and not spicing up the team's day.


Posted by eric, a resident of another community
on Jan 31, 2009 at 12:48 pm

I'll bet you anything that the parent is more concerned about their kids playing time than some silly picture. Parents look for excuses all the time to run coaches out of town that dont "realize" how "talented" their particular kid is. Ask any high school coach.


Posted by Ned, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jan 31, 2009 at 1:42 pm

That's right eric, so the parent was just waiting around to seize an opportunity when the coach decides to send out inappropriate emails to minors. Again, where's all that rational, logic thought you are always advocating for? The coach did a stupid thing, and now you want to go blame the minor? How about the coach and all others in education just act like professionals and avoid incidents like this?


Posted by Anonymous, a resident of Cuesta Park
on Jan 31, 2009 at 9:44 pm

I'm also a player on the team and I didn't have a problem with the email. The parent overreacted. The email was harmless, and our coach sends us random emails all the time. and like my teammate above said, who hasn't seen a topless guy?


Posted by eric, a resident of another community
on Jan 31, 2009 at 11:34 pm

Um, Ned-- I blamed the parent, not the kid--did you read what I wrote? More accurately, I made a supposition based on many incidents that I have personally observed where a parent who thinks their average athlete of a child should be the center of the universe, and hangs a good and professional coach out to dry when junior doesnt get everything that mom and dad want.


Posted by Enough!, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Feb 1, 2009 at 11:58 am

Okay, everybody, let's all go to work on Monday and start sending out similar emails and see how long it takes for a complaint to be made. This coach must be completely out of touch.


Posted by Billy Bragg, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Feb 1, 2009 at 3:13 pm

MVHS Parents need to stop being [word removed]


Posted by Ned, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Feb 2, 2009 at 8:03 pm

Um, eric, you blame the parent? Uh, did you read the part where he is about to be shipped out to Iraq? He's going off to fight in a war while some nit wit coach is sending inappropriate emails to his daugther. He's got every right to be upset. What's wrong with an over-protective parent anyway? High school students are still their parents' children. The only emails this coach should be sending to the team are those dealing with team management. How does that simple fact get lost? You'd rather chalk it up to your own experience with high school team sports? Bizarre. Step outside your 2-meter diameter world and put yourself in his shoes.


Posted by eric, a resident of another community
on Feb 3, 2009 at 12:37 am

I am-- again--- making a supposition about the most likely dynamics of the situation, based not on personal experience (my days of high school sports are too long past to be remotely relevant) but on observation and discussions with coaches that I know. I dont claim to know the situation in detail, but neither do you. While I commend service to country, it does not excuse bad behavior-- how is that even vaugely relevant?

"whats wrong with an over-protective parent anyway?"-- wow. I dont know what to say to that

"The only emails this coach should be sending to the team are those dealing with team management."-- so, you dont want educators to have any relationship with kids except to post a schedule? Thats sad. My coaches and teachers were role models for me when I was younger, and my kids have many positive adult role models in their lives. That takes more than sticking a thumb tack into a bulletin board and emailing the bus schedule.


Posted by Mom of 2, a resident of Rex Manor
on Feb 3, 2009 at 12:07 pm

I think the parent's reaction here is absurd and borderline immoral. What a terrible lesson to teach his daughter: in an economy that is this bad, you should try to get a person *fired* when that person causes you to see something for 30 seconds that you don't like, even though you can see it in any magazine, movie, or television show. Teaching a teenager that trying to ruin a person's livelihood in the middle of a severe recession is a better response than rolling one's eyes and hitting "delete"? That's absolutely awful.

Of the people who I wouldn't let near my kids after this incident, it's definitely *not* the coach here. I wouldn't let me kids anywhere near this father.


Posted by Norman, a resident of Whisman Station
on Feb 3, 2009 at 2:19 pm

While the coach made a poor decision sending this to her players (though it hardly seems malicious), the parent's response is way over the top. Going to the police about a photo of a topless male? That's ridiculous. His comment that "this is not something I should have to worry about when I am (in Iraq)" is irrelevant; Mtn. View's basketball season will be over before he leaves in March. It's a good bet that he was at odds with the coach before this incident and hoped this would be enough to get rid of her.


Posted by Jon Wiener, a resident of another community
on Feb 3, 2009 at 3:01 pm

It's too bad that this kind of petty bickering is the only thing the Voice will write about the team all season. I went as far back as mid-October trying to find the last time the Voice wrote anything other than an occasional "From the Editor's Desk" blurb about a local sports team, but ultimately got tired and gave up.

I don't expect the paper to avoid writing about happy things. (I am not, after all, reading the Town Crier). But you could find much more interesting and newsworthy stories by going out to the games and practices rather instead of just waiting to hear from upset parents.




Posted by Jon Wiener, a resident of another community
on Feb 3, 2009 at 3:02 pm

*avoid writing about UNhappy things


Posted by Don Frances, Mountain View Voice Editor
on Feb 3, 2009 at 5:34 pm

Don Frances is a registered user.

We don't cover sports, and haven't in about two years. We do cover school- and kid-related issues, however.

I don't think the above discussion is petty at all. If you look beneath the surface, there's a classic and important debate going on here: how should parents and educators relate to our kids? Are we pals with them or paragons, or somewhere in between? I think liberals tend toward the former while conservatives tend toward the latter, and the comments above reflect that.

It's also been for the most part a respectful conversation -- a bit snarky at times, but not too bad.


Posted by mvspartans, a resident of another community
on Feb 3, 2009 at 11:08 pm

Any chance of bringing back sports coverage?
It would be good to have a MV paper to balance the Town Crier's (biased) coverage.


Posted by Enough!, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Feb 4, 2009 at 7:07 pm

I just can understand how the parent is to blame for reacting, and even being called immoral by one poster. My teachers and/or coaches in high school never emailed me. We had no such a thing as email. They never phoned me at home. We had no cell phones. They made annoucements in class and sent flyers home. They never sent us anything inappropriate or even borderline inappropriate. They never talked to us about girls or boys, as the coach apparently did as reported in this article. And this was only 20 years ago. My brothers and sisters and I all went on to become engineers and medical doctors and lead succesful careers and stay out of trouble. So what exactly does this coach offer that is so great anyway?

I guess I'm also surprised that the far left wingers aren't complaining that the coach isn't be entirely sensitive to those students on the team that might be lesbians, or "just curious" as they say.


Posted by former dad, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Feb 11, 2009 at 8:29 am

my daughter played basketball for mvhs her 4 years there,and recieved e-mails from coach,that i rolled my eyes at,but didn't think to much of,as a coach myself,i wouldn't have done.i think its her way of being " buddy buddy".after reading everything thats been said and done,mr. estremera has a good point,but in my eyes should of turned it over to the board and let them handle it.clearly hes been unhappy with coach for some time.another point is these girls are minors,even thou it wasn't illegal, its more of a simple case of " bad taste"and the girls didn't seem to mind so " no harm, no foul" ?


Posted by What about Criminals, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Mar 9, 2009 at 12:55 pm

You know people are really bored with their lives when they have to focus on something as trite as a picture of a male model who is shirtless, and make a deal out of it. What about all the crime that goes on in Mountain View, Arkansas, and people seemingly just sit idly by while the criminals get a small pat on the wrist in court and set free?
God forgid there was a picture of a breast, penis or vagina in a health class in highschool! What a crime this would be.


Posted by ypb007, a resident of another community
on Feb 16, 2011 at 9:47 am

This coach is in my opinion definitely acting very very unprofessional. She is the coach, not a buddy or friend and should lead by example. Sending these kind of e-mails and chain e-mails in general is not appropriate. Does she has nothing else to do???? As for Mr. Estremera - congrats on taking this to the board and public. I am sure he thought twice about doing this as it will mean most likely that his daughter has to encounter punishment from the coach and even her teammates. Everybody is so concerned that criticizing the coach will effect that their daughter will play or not and we all know that there is more at risk like future scholarships etc. BUT when is enough enough and someone has to step up. Power abuse by coaches, teachers etc. has to stop as much as bullying in general. Again, totally inappropriate and sad that the other teammates did not think anything about it. This coach needs to go!


Posted by 3rd Times Not a Charm, a resident of another community
on May 2, 2011 at 4:02 pm

Actually this sort of thing with player bullying has happened before with the same coach at 2 different schools. I'm not really suprised that this happened. Maybe the Athletic Directors who hired her need to look more into her past jobs and refferences.


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