Mission Prep bedeviled by lawsuit, Reagan trip sexual misconduct
August 23, 2015
By KAREN VELIE
Officials at Mission Prep in San Luis Obispo announced last week there will not be a junior varsity football team when the season begins next week, leaving many to question why.
This fall, Mission Prep will be the only high school involved in the the two major San Luis Obispo County conferences that will not be starting with a junior varsity team. School officials contend lack of interest in the sport, only eight freshman showed up for tryouts, as the reason the team was disbanded.
Athletic director Vic Ecklund told the Tribune football participation numbers were down countywide.
However, the Tribune contacted several high school coaches who said they had increased freshman participation this season, others said the numbers vacillate from year to year.
During the past year, Mission Prep has faced scrutiny after a student who suffered brain damage during football practice sued the school, its principal, the football coaches and the football team captain.
The plaintiff in the lawsuit alleges a former teammate intentionally caused him to suffer severe injuries and then bragged and taunted him about the physical damage he caused.
During a 2013 practice, the plaintiff suffered multiple helmet-to-helmet hits, which are not allowed by California high school football rules. An assistant coach also named in the lawsuit encouraged the hits, according to the lawsuit.
In addition, the Mission Prep incoming freshman class shrunk after a group of boys were expelled because of sexual misconduct during a class field trip.
During the last weeks of the 2014/2015 school year, Old Mission School’s eight grade class took a chaperoned field trip to the Ronald Reagan Museum in a double decker bus. While on the bus, several boys draped coats to block the view, and began watching porn and masturbating, multiple parents confirmed.
While headed back to San Luis Obispo, an eighth-grade girl peeked behind the coats and yelled, “The boys are masturbating,” multiple parents confirmed. Old Misson School teacher Jeff Palaszewski — also known as Mr. P — then stopped at a fast food restaurant and took the young men into the bathroom to clean up, several students on the bus said..
In the end, three incoming freshman boys were expelled and several other parents elected to change schools, sources said. Several parents voiced concern that to date, the school has not informed the other parents about the incident.
Old Mission School Principal Tina Ballantyne did not return requests for comment.
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