Cyber bullying response leads to dismissal of coach

Doug Andrade
Doug Andrade
Bernard Ho
Bernard Ho
Andrade during one of his coaching experiences
Andrade during one of his coaching experiences

By Mike Cherry - bio | email

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - According to a telephone survey conducted in 2006, 4 in 10 teens have experienced online harassment.  Girls are twice as likely as boys to be harassed and teens who share their identities on sites such as MySpace are more prone to become the targets of cyber-bullying.

That was the case at Damien Memorial School where a coach pushed the limit of how far a cyber bully should be pushed back.

"If I had to do it all over again, I'd do it in a different way...I heard I was supposed to mind my own business, but I don't think so", said a remorseful Doug Andrade.

Two weeks ago, Andrade admittedly let his emotions get the best of him.

Allegedly, a male cheerleader from Damien was a victim of cyber bullying from a pair of his classmates.  Racial threats and suggestions of bodily harm were left on the victim's face book page, such as: "maybe if u cut urself and bleed ull lose weight" and "it doesn't matter what you think, no one really likes you."

The victim replied to one comment saying: "just leave me alone i'm sad and thinking of dying".

Andrade found out about the alleged bullying from his daughter, who is a cheer leading coach at the school. He then used her Facebook account to confront the students.

"What kinda got me going was when the cheerleader coach mentioned that he was in the corner crying one day...when I heard that, that was kinda like the straw that broke the camel's back.  I don't think anyone deserves that."

A six-year volunteer and part-time employee at Damien...Andrade sent a string of verbal barbs to both students.  One said: "What's up with all this (expletive) talking about the guys that are trying to help out the cheerleaders?"  Yet another added: "If you think this is a (expletive) joke you need to come and talk to me in (the) weight room."

Andrade says he felt compelled to intervene. "My first thought was I'm going to put a stop to this, whether they like it or not.  I never threatened to do any bodily harm.  Everyone misinterpreted what I was trying to say and get to.  I wouldn't go to the extreme and used the language that I actually did use.  And this led to my being dismissed."

Damien Memorial president Bernard Ho said prior to this, they had no altercations involving Andrade.  But, they added they also have a zero tolerance policy for bullying by children and adults.

When asked if the language itself led to Andrade's dismissal, Ho replied, "Absolutely. That language which i will not repeat on the air were totally unacceptable and it wasn't just one time, it was several times where he used the language.  It was harsh, intimidating and threatening."

Over the last week there was a petition created by students requesting Andrade's return.  And the boy who argued with Andrade online has also asked for the coach's reinstatement.

Damien says it's unlikely, which for Andrade ends a dream job that allowed him to help nearly a dozen Damien athletes go to college.  "I'd like to see the school be more aware of this thing, don't take it lightly...I'd like to go back if I had the chance.  I'd definitely take the opportunity", said Andrade.

Damien said the alleged bullies were suspended and could be dismissed from school should they participate in any future bullying.

As for the cheerleading coach, Andrade's daughter, she was also suspended for a week for allowing her father to use her Facebook account.

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