Football players’ parents file suit against Castle

Castle's Kenekulani Kahala-Giron (15) gained yards before he was tackled by Kapolei's Peni Naulu in the season opener for both teams. Photo by Jay Metzger/Special to the Star-Advertiser.

The parents of three Castle football players have filed suit in First Circuit Court against Knights football coach John Hao, principal Bernadette Tyrell and athletic director Laynie Sueyasu as well as district superintendent Matt Ho.

The suit — filed by Kyle Giron and his wife Ashleigh Giron on Wednesday — alleges that proper care was not taken to reasonably keep their sons away from harm. In the filing, it mentions that the Castle coaches knowingly allowed the plaintiffs’ sons and others to participate in a dangerous tackling drill and that one of their sons suffered a serious shoulder injury while doing the drill in July.

That drill was on a video that made the rounds on social media and was a subject of an Aug. 31 article on Hawaii Prep World. You can read that here.

The video can also be found on YouTube by clicking here.

Coach Hao was asked for his thoughts about the suit via cellphone Friday night. He said he was unaware that a suit had been filed, and said, “Sometimes before you make any rash decisions, like taking action against the school, you gotta look at the situation closer. Bottom line, you do what’s best for the kids.”

Hao went on to say that it’s unfortunate that the drill happened and that one of the Giron boys was injured.

“There’s nothing you can defend about the video,” said Hao, who was not at practice and put his assistants in charge the day the video of the drill was shot. “But the video doesn’t show everything. It’s all cutups (edits). It doesn’t show that the trainers were there attending to (Giron’s son).”

In the video, players are seen lining up 20 yards apart and sprinting toward each other before colliding. A few days after the video surfaced on social media, Castle’s administration said it had addressed the issue internally and made sure that coaches would be re-trained.

Kyle Giron points out in the suit that he was interviewed on a TV news segment, talking about how dangerous the tackling drill was.

The Girons, who are being represented by attorney Eric Seitz and others, allege in the suit that coach Hao maliciously retaliated to that interview by benching one of their sons (who had been the starting quarterback) before a 35-7 loss to Waipahu on Aug. 31 and by not giving their sons much playing time after that.

In the suit, the Girons also allege that they received retaliatory text messages concerning the TV interview — and that their attempts to communicate with Tyrell, Sueyasu and Ho about their complaints were rebuffed.

The Girons also allege that the coaches were abusive and negligent by putting players in situations in which concussions could have easily occurred and that the coaches were not effectively trained on safety matters.

Hao said the Giron boys continued to play — all on defense — through the Knights’ 38-21 win over Kailua on Sept. 21. Hao said the three boys practiced the following week, but did not show up for a 30-27 win over Aiea on Sept. 29.

Hao also said the Giron boys are currently participating in drills for the Castle track and field team.

Castle finished the season 5-7 and made it to the OIA Division I final, where they lost to Waipahu 32-3.


  1. ??? December 1, 2018 7:17 am

    Football is a CONTACT sport and not meant for everyone, sounds like these parents should have let their kids play Tennis, Bowling or Golf instead.

    Didn’t Castle go on a good winning streak & make the playoffs after that video came out?

  2. Hee-Haw December 1, 2018 7:27 am

    I guess getting hurt in practice doing questionable drills is more important than playing games? Is Coach Hao admitting that he condoned that tackling drill? Eric Seitz wouldn’t take this case unless he knows that he will WIN.

  3. "UNITY=STRENGTH" December 1, 2018 10:52 am

    You taking a chance already with a possible concussion and other injuries when playing. I dont know how serious the shoulder injury the player sustained with shoulder pads on. Things could’ve been more serious though and if medical bills are paid out of pocket I can understand why.

  4. castlealumnus December 1, 2018 12:19 pm

    “Do what is best for the kids”, most definitely! that’s why there is a filed lawsuit, to protect players who don’t know any better about safety. The 5-7 Coaches who were there allowed this drill to continue in spite of players getting injured. There is no situation in a game where there is a 20 yd running start to contact another player except for possibly kickoffs and even in that, players break down before blocking or tackling an opponent.. There is no way to defend the Staff on this. Castle’s Staff is young, inexperienced and it shows. This happened on the 1st day of allowed contact and was tried to be swept under the covers. Retraining? it’ll be interesting to hear in court what that comprised of. talking to by the AD who don’t know football? Experienced Coach brought in to teach them the fundamentals of coaching & player safety? took an online course? The Athletic Trainer will be brought into this too if she treated the players(s) and her incident report scrutinized. There are other issues too;, much profanity, yelling directed to players in practice, grades, Coaches, parents, threatening the officials in the JV playoff game vs Leilehua, etc. Yes, the varsity made the playoffs, hats off to that, but at the end of the day, one wants the student-athletes have character instilled in them. One is not surprised to hear that AD, Principal, Complex Area Supervisor are unresponsive to the public. seems to be their M.O. over there. Hao should follow St. Francis’s Kip Akana’s lead and do the right thing & resign. AD should follow too and maybe have the Principal re-assigned since they don’t fire Administrators in the DOE. As a Alumnus, it’s embarrassing! making the news for the wrong reasons. For those of you who see nothing wrong with the drill, I hope you are not in a position to coach young people as I wouldn’t want any kid to be under your tutelage. I would want the kids to leave the sport in one piece and not incur injuries that could have been avoided. Just imagine if one of those kids who got hurt was one of your own. The truth will come out when they have their day in court. Go Castle! make some changes!

  5. castlealumnus December 1, 2018 12:28 pm

    hey Nick,

    i hope the disappearance of my message is temporary while you review it and has not been deleted. if it is, what is the sense of having a post if an opinion cannot be stated? there is no profanity, no call to stir the masses, no derogatory comments but a thought out and truthful commentary on this incident. don’t lose readers by being the Gestapo.

  6. castlealumnus December 1, 2018 12:29 pm

    ok, I see it now, Thank You

  7. ??? December 1, 2018 12:48 pm

    What’s the difference between running supposedly 20 yards in practice to tackle someone and running 20-30 yards to tackle someone in a Game?
    You can can hurt tackling someone from 1 yard away !!!

  8. !!! December 1, 2018 7:45 pm

    ^^^ You must be high, drunk, or never played football to be asking that question…haha

  9. What December 1, 2018 11:57 pm

    a shame for this program. coach just burying himself mo deep. ??? You is unreal! maybe you should go play some tennis smart guy. Need to practice your soft serve.

  10. notes December 2, 2018 8:22 am

    lol lawyer is probably an ILH grad. anything to bring down the public schools

  11. ILH December 2, 2018 8:36 am

    They seen the whole thing go down. If safety for your child is important, why didn’t they run on the field and pull out their kids instead of filming the drill. They could’ve stopped it earlier, cause the son went and got hurt later on in the film, so that could’ve been prevented. That’s the problem now days, we forget that we also ain’t perfect. The drill was crazy for sure, but these Coaches after their regular job they volunteer their time to go and help our kids. Lets live with Aloha and forgive since it isn’t that bad of a situation. If they were to touch them than that’s where you draw the line. Looks like all the kids who was in that clip is doing fine and is working and training for next season and going to a different School next year!!

  12. Hmmm? December 2, 2018 10:54 am

    Too bad but Casttle Coaches, Admin., and C.A.S. going get scrutinized. Eric Seitz always goes against Hawaii D.O.E. and usually wins. Hope they settle out of court, then they can hush stuff legally.

  13. All about the benjamins December 2, 2018 4:38 pm

    The tackling drill is unacceptable, but does it warrant suing the school?
    How bad is their kids shoulder injury or is it about the family just trying to get $$ ?

  14. Wake UP December 2, 2018 6:10 pm

    @ILH So the drill was crazy but since coaches are volunteers it’s okay? Volunteer or paid, these coaches have the same responsibility to ensure player safety. “Volunteering” doesn’t mean you get a pass. Try to read what you write so your brain can process how dumb it sounds. Living with “Aloha” would have been those coaches putting player safety first. Oh, and since you blaming parents for not stopping it, well then that means you acknowledge there was something to stupid was going on that need to be stopped. Simply put lawyers don’t take on cases they think they can’t win. Must be a lot of evidence besides the video that is damaging too.

  15. GED December 2, 2018 7:24 pm

    Hey, @Hayn, you spot on. Your last sentence can be directed at @ILH too.

  16. Kapahulu December 2, 2018 9:29 pm

    Who cares……

  17. GED December 2, 2018 11:17 pm

    What is olos and niho? Is that pidgin or Hawaiian? When I took the GED, only English was used.

  18. GED December 2, 2018 11:36 pm

    Why Are you so gender bias? You should led not use “olos” unless you know.
    I suppose you have BRASS ones.

  19. Stacey December 9, 2018 7:49 am

    sad part is the ignorance that this video has brought about its worst then then the coaches who ran this drill.

  20. Charles Amai December 11, 2018 3:54 pm


    – The coaches involved will be made examples of.

    – Coach Hao will get chewed out and have to make a public apology. Possibly followed with a resignation by way of too much BS.

    – The parents will cash grab and settle with an insurance claim against CHS.

    Bottom line….. You are torturing a Offensive Guru that can take the kids to the next level. What a waste…..nothing changes in the public sector.

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