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.