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Report: Allegations against CK basketball coach are unfounded

Allegations of misconduct against Central Kitsap High School girls basketball coach Denise Baxter were for the most part unfounded according to a school district investigation, officials said Thursday.

Baxter, who has coached the team for 10 seasons, admitted earlier to “pantsing” a 15-year old junior varsity player during a February 2003 practice. The girl’s shorts were pulled down to her ankles in front of JV and varsity players and a male trainer. Administrators took undisclosed disciplinary action against the coach, who also apologized and expressed remorse for her actions, said Chris Stokke, CKSD School Board president.

“We have absolutely no reason to believe that any such conduct will be repeated in the future,” Stokke read from a letter sent to all parents and students involved.

But according to parents, the decision sets a bad precedent.

“This is a kangaroo court,” said Ken Whyte, spokesperson for about 15 parents and players who alleged Baxter belittled players, was unfair in her selection of the team and retaliated against them for participating in the complaints.

The same group addressed the board during a Jan. 28 executive session.

While the school district has closed the books on the issue, Whyte and the group plans to consult a lawyer on the matter.

An investigation, conducted by Kristiana Farris O’Brien, a Seattle attorney, found all other allegations to be untrue.

“There were legitimate reasons offered for the selection decisions, which were supported by other coaching staff. While some comments attributed to the coach have been characterized by the complainants as ‘degrading’ or ‘demeaning,’ others, including the investigator, would not agree to characterize them as such,” Stokke read.

Nettie Eklund, a CKHS varsity basketball player from 2001 to 2003 attended the meeting in support of Baxter.

“She never personally attacked anyone,” said Eklund who heard of the pantsing incident but did not witness it. Baxter’s criticism was constructive she said.

“I don’t understand where a lot of these people are coming from,” she said.

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