Early this week, a Douglas High School parent from posted pictures of her son’s hands with injuries he allegedly received from doing “bear crawls” on asphalt at the school.

The story took on a life of its own and was picked up by Huntsville television stations.

Marshall County School superintendent Cindy Wigley has stood behind Douglas High football coach Jamison Wadley through the storm. She issued this statement Thursday:

“It saddens me that we live in time where one parent can walk on a football field, yell and scream at a coach, and then get the attention of the news media in an effort to cover up his own actions,” Wigley said.

“On August 19, during first period athletic P.E. (7:40 a.m.) at Douglas High School, a coach had a group of football players do one set of ‘bear crawls’ on a walkway beside the football field. The vast majority of parents have no problem with the coach’s actions and support him 100 percent.

“However, one parent became upset with the coach. Instead of following proper protocol and privately discussing his concerns with school administration or with the coach, the parent came onto the practice field and confronted the coach in a belligerent manner. The parent’s actions caused a significant disruption at practice.

“Student safety is the upmost concern of the Marshall County School System and, therefore, the parent’s concerns were thoroughly investigated.

“The investigation revealed that most players had no injuries as a result of the ‘bear crawls,’ but that approximately three students had minor scrapes on their hands. It is well known that ‘bear crawls’ are commonly used as conditioning for football players in a number of school systems.

“One local television station displayed a picture showing an alleged injury to a student’s hand and misrepresented that it resulted from the ‘bear crawl’ when, in fact, the school system’s investigation revealed it was caused, in part, by unrelated events. The player is involved in power weight lifting outside of school with his dad.

“The parents understand the details of what took place and are very supportive of the coaches and appreciate them making the boys into respectable young men.

“The Marshall County School System will remain vigilant in protecting student safety, but will also not unfairly cast blame on educators who are trying to do their jobs and better our students.”

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