Local paper to continue fight for access to report on coaches at Calif. high school

CALIFORNIA — A Redding newspaper received Friday five pages from a 90-page investigative conduct report regarding parents’ complaints about two football coaches — an excerpt that one editor termed”worthless” for its lack of detail.

The partial report release came in response to the first of two openrecords requests to Red Bluff Joint Union High School by staff of the RecordSearchlight. After the district denied the original request, staffersmailed a renewed request Friday just before receiving the five-pageproduction.

The report details the result of a conduct investigation, prompted bycomplaints from parents, of John Schwabauer and Rich Hassay, the former co-headfootball coaches at Red Bluff.

According to Record Searchlight staffwriter John Ryan, parents were concerned over how the coaches ran the footballprogram. Both Schwabauer and Hassay were released from their coaching positionsDec. 19, after the investigation was completed. However, the two coachesretained their faculty positions.

The district later invited Schwabauer and Hassay to re-apply for theconsolidated head coach job. Schwabauer was hired to fill the position onWednesday

According to the Record Searchlight, neither coach has seen thereport. The Student Press Law Center e-mailed both coaches seeking comment onWednesday but received no response. Red Bluff high school is currently on awinter break.

Aaron Williams, a sports columnist for the paper, filed the originalCalifornia Open Records Act request for the report on Jan 7. The schooldistrict’s attorney. Christian Keiner, denied the request Jan 17, sayingit was “overbroad, and includes multiple documents which are privileged orexempted under the Act.”

Williams, in an article published by the Record Searchlight

Sundaysaid, “This falls well short of what we are seeking. Weare within our rights to be given the entire document. There is no meat in thepages turned over, nothing of any substance.”

When questioned prior to the sending the report excerpt to the RecordSearchlight, Keiner told the SPLC, “Our release will be completewithin the requirements of the public records act.”

Williams said he believes the paper ultimately will be successful inobtaining a copy of the full report. He cited a two-and-a half-year lawsuit theRecord Searchlight brought against the Dunsmuir Joint Union High SchoolDistrict to obtain a copy of an investigative report about a the superintendentand principal of the school. The district exhausted all of its appeals optionsand was forced to release the report in addition to paying the newspaper’slegal fees.

Williams said the newspaper has not decided whether to pursue legal actionagainst Red Bluff if other efforts to obtain the full report fail.

“We are going to continue to fight for the documents,” Williamssaid “I don’t care what the report says, but the public has a rightto know.”