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Parents File Complaint With WPIAL about PR Soccer Program and Coach Jodi Chmielewski

Jack and Cindy Reynolds charge that the PIAA rules and regulations have been violated.

The parents of a Pine-Richland varsity soccer player have filed a complaint with the WPIAL, contending that  have violated the athletic league's regulations.

Jack and Cindy Reynolds state in a letter of complaint that WPIAL Rules and Regulations on coaching, health and using school resources for personal gain have been violated by the coach.

Jack Reynolds said he filed the complaint Friday.

The Reynolds also detail in the letter of complaint a history of what they say happened to their daughter, Allyn, who received a concussion in an August 2011 soccer scrimmage. A video of that game is included with the letter.

The Reynolds said Allyn's head was injured when she collided with an opposing player as both jumped up for the ball. After sitting out for about 15 minutes, she returned to the game and hit her head again after colliding with another girl and falling to the ground.

The Reynolds said that Chmielewski should not have put their daughter back in the game.

"Please assure a fair, complete investigation of this matter," the Reynolds state in the letter.

Attorney David B. White, who represents Chmielewski, said he could not comment on the complaint because he has not seen it.

Chmielewski is entering her 15th season as the head coach of the PRHS girls' varsity soccer team, according to her bio on the Pine-Richland girls soccer website. During her tenure, the team has captured five section titles and six trips to the state playoffs.

White said he wanted to emphasize that Allyn did not go back into the scrimmage game in which she was injured until after a trainer—not the coach—cleared her to do so. In an email response, he also said Allyn's parents are upset with the coach over the amount of time their daughter played in games.

Two investigations—one by the school district and another by an independent investigator hired by the district—have concluded the Reynolds' allegations about his client are baseless, White said. 

The school board never discussed the investigations publicly, so the nature of the investigation is not clear. Pine-Richland Patch filed a Right-to-Know Request for the reports from those investigations on Friday afternoon.

Chmielewski's attorney said in an email that the school district "hired an independent investigator to investigate the charges being asserted by the Reynolds and that this investigation unequivocally concluded that the allegations were baseless and that Ms. Chmielewski did not insist or put the Reynolds’ daughter back into a game with lingering effects from a concussion. 

"The decision to clear a player to resume playing is, and in this case was, made by the training staff and NOT Ms. Chmielewski. This is exactly what the Pine-Richland administration concluded after their own internal investigation and the conclusion reached by the independent investigator hired by the school district," White wrote.

Jack Reynolds said he does not have the reports from those investigations and has filed a Right-to-Know request to obtain them.

 

Coach Retained

When the Pine-Richland School Board met to vote Aug. 13 on hiring coaches for the school year—an annual rite which usually is handled without comment—supporters and opponents of Chmielewski filled the school board's meeting room to voice their concerns to the school board directors.

After hearing parents and players speak in support of Chmielewski, Cindy Reynolds addressed the board.

"It's not about how much you win or play," she said. "It's about the safety of the girls."

The . 

The only school board member to comment was Laura Ohlund, who voted against retaining Chmielewski.

Ohlund said she respected what the speakers told the board, but she knew a lot about the situation and "could not sleep with her conscience" if she voted yes.

The Pine-Richland board voted without discussion or comment on the motion to hire the coach. It typically handles personnel matters that way. 

Asked after the meeting about the investigations, PRSD Communications Director Rachel Hathhorn emailed this response: "The safety and well being of our students is a priority here in the Pine-Richland School District. Any concerns brought before the district are reviewed thoroughly and taken seriously. We cannot comment on cases involving personnel."

Chmielewski's attorney and some of the speakers at the school board meeting said the issue stems from playing time.

"When you peel back the falsehoods and baseless allegations being lodged by the Reynolds, (or any of the other families who may have jumped on their bandwagon) it all comes down to the parents’ dissatisfaction with their daughter’s playing time," White wrote in an email to Pine-Richland Patch.

"This seems to be a much-too-frequent avenue that parents take when their child thinks she or he is not playing as much as he or she thinks they should, or, in most cases, how much the parents think they should be playing."

The Reynolds, along with other parents of soccer players, have said their concerns are directed at the way Chmielewski treats players.

 

Parents Cite WPIAL Rules 

In their letter to the WPIAL, the Reynolds cite PIAA rules as they allege that Chmielewski plays favorites with players; badgers and bullies select players to get them to quit the team; and disregards players' health to focus on winning.

The letter also sites a provision in the PIAA rules about using a school's resources for personal gain.

"The coach left her classroom to work on personal matters routinely, used school email for personal business, took personal days off to coach her club team, and used district facilities for indoor training of her club team," the letter states.

The coach's attorney said that after he reviews the complaint, he will be glad to respond.

Player's Injury Detailed

Allyn Reynolds was a freshman when she sustained a serious concussive injury in a scrimmage against Norwin on Aug 30, 2011, that caused her to miss more than five months of school, the Reynolds' letter states.

"Allyn was not immediately removed from play until the team captain twice approached the head coach insisting something was wrong with her," according to the Reynolds' letter.  

When Allyn later returned to the game, she was knocked down from behind and slammed her head on the ground, the Reynolds write.

"After the game, neither the coach nor trainer gave us any indication that Allyn was injured and should be watched for concussion symptoms," the letter states.

A video of the game shows Allyn and a Norwin player jump up for the ball at the same time and collide. The Norwin player falls to the ground and does not get up; medical personnel ran out to tend to her.

Allyn is shown on the video walking away from the play.

"I was really confused," Allyn said in an interview. She said she felt disoriented and was moving slowly.

Allyn said her teammates on the bench told her that her eyes "looked funny ... unfocused." Allyn said she later had to go through therapy because her eyes would not focus correctly.

After sitting on the bench for about 15 minutes, Allyn said she spoke to a trainer who told her she could go back into the game.

She went back into the game and the video shows Allyn getting to the ball just before a Norwin player. Because of the angle of the camera, the viewer sees the back of the Norwin player, then Allyn falling to the ground in front of her.

Allyn said she does not remember being hit the second time.

"I didn't know what was going on," she said. By the end of the game, she said she did not remember the score.

Over time, her symptoms worsened, she said, and she finally went to a doctor.

Allyn said she tried going to school for half-days, but contending with lights, hallways, people and homework became too much for her.

Following her doctor's advice, she stayed out of school for five months and had problems with lights, sound and sleep.

Allyn went back to school for half-days at the end of March and was cleared by her doctor to play soccer at the end of April.

Two weeks later, she sustained another concussion while playing for a club team not affiliated with the school district, she said.

"Knowing what I knew, I stopped play within a week," she said, and went back to seeing her doctor and modifying her school day.

Allyn said she had severe headaches, nausea, dizziness and vomiting.

As school is about to start for the 2012-13 year, she said she is worried because her schedule includes challenging honors and AP courses.

The Reynolds said they met with Superintendent Dr. Mary Bucci and Tony DiTommaso, director of administrative and legal affairs, on Feb. 3 and requested an investigation, which began in late May 2012. 

"The first week of June we were informed that the district had hired a law firm to conduct a formal investigation," the Reynolds state in the letter.  

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Fred Bloggs August 29, 2012 at 02:33 AM
Fred Freitag must be a pseudonym for REYNOLDS!!
Fred Freitag August 29, 2012 at 11:12 AM
Fred Bloggs - what is so bad to advocate for someone abused? Then I guess you believe that the victims of the Penn State tragedy should have been locked up and not allowed a voice. Nor the predator's actions be stopped or the criminal prosecuted. It's people like you that are the problem!!
Dave September 07, 2012 at 02:58 AM
Fred Freitag did your daughter play soccer for Jodi?
Dave I September 07, 2012 at 02:59 AM
Fred Freitag did your daughter play soccer for Jodi?
Dave I September 07, 2012 at 03:21 AM
Fred, Fred, Fred.....come on. I went to Westminster with Jodi and she played soccer and softball. Why do you spew such nonsense? Did she not play your daughter? It's better to allow people to believe that you're an ass than to open your mouth and remove all doubt. Shame on you, Fred!
Fred Freitag September 07, 2012 at 10:30 AM
Yes, Jodi played soccer at Westminster - for their "club" team - NOT their varsity team as she implies (she doesn't limit her statement to such). The "club" team wasn't much more than an intramural team. Clearly I question whether you went to Westminster after your statements. It takes one to know one Dave!! Yes, you obviously are an idiot after your statements - you have removed ALL doubt!!
Fred Freitag September 07, 2012 at 11:23 AM
Dave, since it's questionable that you did go to Westminster, or while there in a "dazed and confused" state of mind and didn't know what was going on, contact the Westminster administration or athletic department for a clear and concise statement that Jodi did NOT play for their varsity soccer team - they have no record whatsoever of her playing soccer. Moreover, Westminster did NOT have a varsity team till 1998 - AFTER Jodi graduated!! So Dave, it's very clear - YOU ARE AN IDIOT! You have removed ALL DOUBT!! You clearly don't know what your talking about!!
Susan M. September 07, 2012 at 11:27 AM
I'm not sure why you want to constantly compare this issue with Penn State. Please stop, they are not the same thing. The only similarity is that people in power take advantage of others. Happens everyday, so stop dragging Penn State into the convo. It irritates me.
Fred Freitag September 07, 2012 at 11:41 AM
Susan Martinez - there are alot of similarities between this issue and the Penn State debacle. Please re-read what was stated before. Your statement, "The only similarity is that people in power take advantage of others. Happens everyday, so stop dragging Penn State into the convo." Wow, if that's all that you got out of all the comments here - I feel sad for you. It's clear you just don't have an understanding nor the ability to comprehend all the issues and problems.
Susan M. September 07, 2012 at 12:00 PM
Please save your sympathy, Fred. I am not the one on here all day, every day, calling people names and disparaging them for having different opinions.
Dave I September 07, 2012 at 12:04 PM
Fred....did your daughter play soccer for Jodi? You still didn't answer that question? Yes, Jodi played on the only girl's soccer team that the school had at the time. There's no denying that. Also, I realize that you're an internet tough guy but you need to be careful.
Fred Freitag September 07, 2012 at 12:09 PM
What do I need to be careful about Dave? Truth hurts that you're an idiot!! That it's clear you don't know what you're talking about! Unlike you, I didn't use profanity to describe you nor your comments. Clearly, if that's the only way you can articulate yourself then you have limited intellect and one has to wonder if you did graduate from Westminster??
Fred Freitag September 07, 2012 at 12:13 PM
Susan Martinez. One just has to look at reference your name and see all your comments on various issues. I have only been involved in two.
Susan M. September 07, 2012 at 12:25 PM
And that means....???? Your 500 disparaging and attacking comments on 2 issues VS. my 200 non-disparaging comments on 50 issues?
Dave I September 07, 2012 at 12:36 PM
Fred....I too live/work in Gibsonia. I've had interactions with you in public and several years ago profesionally. Again, did your daughter play soccer for Jodi???
Fred Freitag September 07, 2012 at 12:40 PM
Just responding to your statement, " I am not the one on here all day, every day, calling people names and disparaging them for having different opinions." Clearly, I'm NOT on here ALL day (unlike you), only voicing my opinion about 1 issue, and not disparaging people for having different opinions. To the contrary, I'm trying to explain to people like you where the similarities lay as between the Penn State debacle and Jodi continuing to coach at PRSD. I, along with others, have stated many examples of why she shouldn't be a coach of anything yet alone at PRSD.
Fred Freitag September 07, 2012 at 12:42 PM
Yes, and your point? What is your full name so that I can remember the "interactions" with you? I haven't hidden behind a blog name.
Susan M. September 07, 2012 at 12:51 PM
Fred Freitag--false statement above. Obviously you can see my comment history and so can everyone else. Mark the times and dates that I am here....if it's all day every day then please, let me know. You have responded consistently, I believe everyday....and I am just pointing out that you are not a nice person, you are a bully, and you resort to name-calling. PLUS you can't even answer a simple question of whether your daughter played soccer for Jodi. Seems a little odd to me....I am now leaving this conversation, please feel free to sit behind your computer and call me names all day long :).
Fred Freitag September 07, 2012 at 12:57 PM
The reason I reply to comments being made on these two issues is - that the Patch sends me a notice when comments are made on these issues. Until today, I hadn't made a comment since August 28th I believe - so that's NOT everyday. I'm not a bully except I guess when trying to make a point or explain something to someone like you who just doesn't understand nor comprehend. So, if that's being a "bully" - then I'm guilty. But your various statements make it clear you just don't understand nor comprehend the issues sadly.
Dave I September 07, 2012 at 01:02 PM
Fred your attack on Jodi is only because your daughter didn't get the playing time that you believe she deserved. I just wanted everyone on this site to know what your true ax with Jodi really is about. It's not about her coaching, or a trainer approving a girl to go back into a game or sadly about her teaching....it's because you're upset that your daughter didn't get to play as much as you wanted, plain and simple. I will not be responding again, it seems like you're not capable of having a debate with anyone who disagrees with your opinion.
Fred Freitag September 07, 2012 at 01:24 PM
Dave, you obviously are a coward and need to remain anonymous and hide behind your pseudonym or "fake" name. I never brought up her teaching abilities - many other parents stated those concerns and their history with Jodi and their child. I have consistently maintained a position that Jodi is "bully" and abusive and doesn't have the children's best interest as a concern. Yes, "Dave" - it's not possible to have a debate with someone who's a coward, doesn't know their facts or misrepresents the facts, and doesn't realize the issues involved here.
Dave I September 07, 2012 at 02:40 PM
Fred...another name? Here's you bringing up her teaching abilities. Fred Freitag 10:29 am on Saturday, August 25, 2012 I think that is what is most appalling about the Jodi situation. She is paid to be a good math teacher - which from my understanding, after talking and listening to many students and parents who have made complaints against her just on that account, is not what she is. It's simply amazing and bewildering!!
Fred Freitag September 07, 2012 at 02:48 PM
Dave you are simply and completely a coward - you have to hide. That statement I made after others had already made such comments - I didn't initiate such.
Elizabeth September 07, 2012 at 09:49 PM
dave fyi i think fred was commenting on my comment about Chmielewski's teaching habits. If you scroll up and read the past comments, you would have noticed that. My comment was from my child's experience with her many years ago in the classroom, grading their own papers, reading the lessons on their own, etc.
Paul Hayward November 04, 2012 at 08:04 PM
FF...stop being so rude and arrogant...who do you think you are? Talk about bullies? Everything i have read from you is ANGER. read your own posts. again. You are one angry person. It is not a way to make a point by abusing everyone who doesn't agree with you. YOU simply amaze me...
Paul Hayward November 04, 2012 at 08:12 PM
Who is the Fred Freitag guy? I read this article as i use to live up north and enjoy the WPIAL soccer news and updates...and found this article. This FF guy is a real BULLY...arrogant...narsicistic sounding...and ad mouths anyone who doesn't agree with him...can you imagine living under his roof? His rules? His insight on right and wrong? People like this FF character need serious emotional counselling as there is a deeper anger of rage that comes out if anyone doesn't see his point of view. Read his comments - all angry and abusive. I feel sorry for him as he "doesn't get it".
Paul Hayward November 04, 2012 at 08:19 PM
After playing this beautiful game for over 35 years as a youth in Toronto to a professional and then coaching nine seasons in the NCAA and still running soccer academy courses all over the country...i will leave you with two major points in of soccer coaching today: 1. 60% of coaching is your relationship with your players. Ask any NCAA coach that. 2. Nearly all complaints come from parents who child is not getting playing time.
Fred Freitag November 05, 2012 at 08:57 AM
Who are you Paul? You obviously don't have a clue what you're talking about. You really have no idea what a "bully" is. You clearly need to be more knowledgeable - your ignorance is obvious given your pathetic statements. You patently don't get it!!
Fred Freitag November 05, 2012 at 09:16 AM
Again Paul, your ignorance is patently obvious. You clearly don't even understand the problem which is obvious from the statements you've made. To make statements about someone's child not getting playing time when the issues have been presented that are far more grevious and serious than that. I am certainly one that is glad you haven't coached my daughter and aren't in this area. We don't need someone like you who clearly doesn't have a clue coaching our children. Please re-read the article - although you may have played and coached as you stated - you fail to realize the underlying problem that I and other parents voiced a concern about. Maybe you played and coached to much soccer and need to get a little more education and read AND understand before you speak! It's people like you that allow situations like this to continue. Once more, I am glad you don't live and coach in this area (anymore?).
Fred Freitag November 05, 2012 at 09:36 AM
Let me try to enlighted you Paul. To put it bluntly, the concern and origination which prompted the complaints were not about "playing time" (again, re-read the various comments) but a legitimate concern for the health, welfare, and safety of the players/students. If you didn't read that or understand that - then you just don't get it!!!! If you didn't read how seriously injured the player was and the events of the situation that precipitated the complaints - then I'm very concerned about your abilities as a coach. Maybe one to many "headers" during the course of your playing experience????

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