An incident that occurred during a high school football game has sparked a controversy. During the game, a player was physically bullied repeatedly and was even choked by an opponent, a moment that was caught on video. Now, the parents of the boy who was targeted are expressing their anger over how the incident was handled by the district.
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The incident took place at a high school football game in Texas on September 13, according to a report by SB Nation, where Burleson and Waco University high schools faced off.
During the game, Jagger Gower, a Burleson player, was blindsided by a hit. Then, the player from rival Waco began choking Gower and repeatedly slamming Gower’s head into the ground.
Gower was diagnosed with a concussion after the game and has still not been cleared to play.
After the incident, the Burleson athletic director released a statement, saying, “We are shocked that this incident happened to one of our players. As it unfolded, everyone observing was momentarily stunned. Our coaches quickly ran onto the field to intervene on behalf of our player. The BHS athletic coordinator and the BISD athletic director both protested the incident with Waco ISD officials. Waco ISD assured our administrators that it would address this matter appropriately.”
The other student who was seen in the video choking Gower was given a partial-game suspension by the Waco school board. Gower’s mother, Jennifer, asserted that the partial-game suspension wasn’t enough considering what occurred.
Marcus Nelson, the Waco ISD superintendent, agreed with Gower’s assessment.
“Between those games, there were additional consequences that were also imposed by our coaches,” said Nelson. “It involved physical punishments, extra running and several other activities that I’m hesitant to document more clearly because I believe our student at least has some right to a confidentially. As soon as I became aware of the incident, I suspended the student-athlete from all extra-curricular activities until all further notice.”
It isn’t immediately clear whether Gower’s parents believe the indefinite suspension is sufficient. If not, they can choose to appeal the decision by submitting a letter to the state athletic board and seek further punishment.