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High School Coach Cleared in Alleged Hazing

Jason Scott

This story has been updated.

A football coach was cleared of wrongdoing in an incident that had been described by a parent as humiliating to players.

The alleged incident took place after Atlantic High School lost a game, 56-0. In an email addressed to school superintendent James T. Russell, Jessica Valez, a parent to one of Atlantic's players, alleged that coach Matt Dixon forced the team to exit a bus in a Walmart parking lot and do up-downs. 

Up-downs are an exercise in which an athlete runs in place, then dives to the ground before quickly popping back up to repeat the process.

According to Valez, the coach told members of the team who refused to do the exercise that they were no longer welcome on the team, but these claims were found to be "unsubstantiated" in the wake of an investigation by Volusia County Schools officials, according to the Daytona Beach News-Journal

Though the team did pull over and some players performed up-downs, investigators found that the reason for the stop over was to diffuse tensions on the bus and avoid a potential altercation. 

"There was a little bit of a disorder, and it was a safety concern," Nancy Wait, VCS's director of community information services told the News-Journal. "The kids still didn't settle down when they pulled over, so they decided to calm them down, get off the bus and do this as a team... That was a decision made by the coach. That was not anything that came out of the investigation that he should be reprimanded for." 

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