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Junior high coaches didn't have district approval
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Jaime Guerra and Frank Madrid were permitted to coach the Blaker-Kinser Junior High wrestling team for three weeks without approval from Ceres Unified School District even though they were put on administrative leave for poor judgment while coaching at Ceres High School earlier this year.

"Any coach that is hired, is hired with the approval from my office," said Ceres Unified School District Superintendent Walt Hanline. "The approval wasn't there."

Brenda Ribeiro, the parent of wrestlers on the Ceres High and Blaker-Kinser wrestling teams, expressed concern in an e-mail to the Courier and Paul Joncich at News 10.

"If our coach has done something that he should not have at the high school, why would he then be allowed to start coaching at the junior high?," stated Ribeiro, a former district employee. "We demand answers. How are our students in jeopardy and are they (CUSD) trying to cover their mistakes?"

The district did make a mistake and could have avoided it if Hanline and Blaker-Kinser principal Mike Gonzales and athletic director Arnie Barajas made sure every step was taken during the hiring process.

"We need to create a more direct communication process, which will be more bureaucratic and less flexible," Hanline said.

"We have had a relaxed way of dealing with walk-on coaches."

There was a communication breakdown.

"Once the coaches are approved at the site, the individual is referred to the district office to fill out paperwork," Hanline said. "The district office approves (the hiring) based on that paper work."

Guerra and Madrid didn't follow orders according to Hanline.

"I talked with the administrators from Blaker-Kinser," Hanline said. "I found out what happened. He (Jaime) was specifically told by the secretary to get his paper work filled out.

"One of the two people are lying and I don't believe the secretary is lying. She has no reason to say anything but the truth."

Guerra refuted Hanline's claim.

"I think it's sad that they are blaming it on the secretary when she didn't tell me anything," Guerra said. "If the secretary told me, I would have went and did it.

"I have no reason to lie. I get no benefit out of it."

"Added Hanline: "He is not a victim here. I'm getting very tired of him making himself out to be the victim.

"He continues to tell people everybody else is not telling the truth and he is."

Guerra assumed he didn't need to fill out paper work in the district's personnel office because he didn't last year when he was hired at the high-school level. He also coached at Blaker-Kinser the previous two seasons and never told the district he was vacating that position.

Guerra and Madrid did fill out paper work when they were hired to coach at Blaker-Kinser in March 2002.

Reached for comment, Blaker-Kiner's principal declined to make a statement.

"I really can't say anything," Gonzales said.

When asked if Gonzales and Barajas would be punished for allowing Guerra and Madrid to coach at their school without approval from the district, Hanline said he could not comment because it's a personnel issue.

"There is no escaping the fact that there was a communications breakdown and it is ultimately my responsibility," Hanline said.

"The bottom line is that we have to put a process in place that will ensure that this doesn't happen again."

Ceres High's wrestling coaches were put on administrative leave in January after allegations of hazing at practices surfaced.

The mother of a JV wrestler filed a complaint with the Ceres Police Department and principal Steve Thiessen after her son came home with a welt on his back.

The welt was induced after a game of dodgeball, which was played at the end of a practice during winter break. The losers agreed to get slapped on their backs by the winners. - By DALE BUTLER / Staff Reporter of The Ceres (Calif.) Courier