Los Angeles News

Mira Costa High School baseball coach suspended for alleged bullying

Thursday, January 31, 2013

A baseball coach at a Manhattan Beach high school has been suspended for allegedly bullying and intimidating players.

Francine Clebowicz says her 16-year-old son, a junior varsity baseball player at Mira Costa High School, has been repeatedly bullied by his coach, Cassidy Olson.

"I am very concerned for my son's safety," said Clebowicz. "Harassment, name calling, intimidation, kids feel very uncomfortable around him."

Clebowicz and about a dozen other parents hired an attorney and filed a formal complaint with the school district in December. Attorney Joseph DiMonda represented the group.

"He uses fear to intimidate and bully and coerce the boys into doing his will," DiMonda said.

The move resulted in a district investigation and eventually the coach's suspension. Olson is now restricted from working with the team after school hours and cannot attend any games or tournaments until March 25. But the school district says at that point, he will return to his full duties.

"I think there's been lots of discussions about how we want to see the program handled, and how we want and expect that students will be worked with in the future...we're pretty convinced that everything we want to have put into place will be," said Manhattan Beach Unified School District Assistant Superintendent Rick Bagley.

But according to Clebowicz, the alleged intimidation has continued, and now she wants to see Olson replaced.

"The parents want him fired," DiMonda said.

Still, Olson has many supporters who say they don't want to see him go. Varsity baseball player Chris Alcala is among them.

"I personally respect him as a coach," Alcala said. "He has a winning record here so I think he's earned the right to be here and I could not have had this success without him being here."

Clebowicz says she plans to attend the next school board meeting Feb. 6 with her attorney, when they will ask the district to release the findings of their investigation on Olson. They also plan to file another complaint about the coach.

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