Parent Defends Student Dismissed from Athletics Over Critical Essay | Athletic Business

Parent Defends Student Cut from Athletics Over Essay


Tony Soliz was dismissed from the Anson (Texas) High School athletic program following an essay he wrote for his English class in which he was critical of the football team’s season. The paper then somehow made its way to Chris Hagler, who serves as both head football coach and athletic director.

Since then, according to CBS affiliate KTAB in Abilene, Jason Soliz, Tony's father, has spoken with the high school principal and district superintendent, the first two steps in their process for dealing with a grievance.

The elder Soliz says Hagler hasn't been accountable for his actions.

“He had no business doing that at all, it being a violation of a constitutional right, you know? And then you’re losing trust in your teachers. That’s not good,” said Soliz.

As reported by KTAB, stage one of the grievance process consisted of Soliz meeting with the principal in late November. He says he was told that the athletic director did not fall under the principal’s line of command, so no action was taken.

Moving on to stage two, Soliz met with district superintendent Jay Baccus. At that time, Soliz says Baccus offered to allow Tony back into the athletic department, though Soliz made it clear that as long as Hagler was a part of it, neither he nor his son felt comfortable in the program.

“That’s enough. We’ve dealt with this long enough and I think it’s time for a change,” Soliz said

It wasn’t until January 9 that Soliz was made aware of the action that would be taken. A letter from Baccus stated that Hagler would not be dismissed, but he and the teacher responsible for giving him access to the essay would face “disciplinary action,” and all coaching staff would have to undergo First Amendment training.

Baccus also denied Soliz’s request to include the complaint in Hagler’s file, a development Soliz said he feels does not bode well for any future students that may find themselves in the same situation.

“And I think it’s time to address it," he said. "As of now we haven’t done nothing but put a band-aid over it, and enough’s enough."

Soliz had hoped to speak at the Jan. 10 board meeting as a part of step three of the grievance filing process. Just before that meeting began, Baccus called Soliz aside into his office.

Soliz was told he could speak in the open forum portion of the meeting, but that he would have to repeat everything at a future meeting after filling out the level-three forms to be officially heard. Soliz told KTAB he feels like he’s being given the “run around,” as he had tried to get on the school board’s agenda before that night.

“We’re in limbo here," he said. "We aren’t satisfied with anything."

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