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St. Charles East coach said she resigned because she did not feel ‘safe’

Published: Tuesday, April 23, 2013 5:30 a.m. CDT • Updated: Tuesday, April 23, 2013 12:18 p.m. CDT

ST. CHARLES – The coach who resigned April 15 from her seat with the St. Charles East boys water polo team did so because she no longer felt “safe, comfortable or respected,” according to her resignation letter.

The letter from Jaclyn Weber was obtained from St. Charles School District 303 through the Freedom of Information Act.

Weber resigned suddenly and the team faced a cancellation of the rest of its season until school officials announced a new coach, Shawn Burke, last week. Burke is a dean at East.

Weber would not comment.

A voice mail left for East Athletic Director Michael Sommerfeld was not returned.

Weber’s letter of resignation states she was resigning “with great sadness.”

“After much thought, I have decided that I no longer feel safe, comfortable or respected around the members of the Boys Water Polo Team,” states Weber’s letter.

“I have always felt supported by you, however I feel that the words and actions of some of the members of the team have caused too much damage for me to continue in this position … Thank you for your empathy and understanding in this difficult situation.”

In her letter, Weber also noted that she will not be coaching the summer water polo camp this year and seeks to be paid her full coaching stipend. 

District 303 spokesman Jim Blaney said according to her contract, Weber’s stipend for coaching boys water polo was $4,666.40.

Blaney said the team members’ actions are the subject of an investigation that could result in further student discipline. 

In an email sent March 28 to a boys water polo parent, Weber and to East Principal Charles Kyle, also obtained through the Freedom of Information Act, Sommerfeld noted how the coach was trying to address the team members’ behavior.

“It appears that the boys on the team are not quite understanding what Coach Weber is trying to preach to them about their behavior and language,” Sommerfeld’s email said.

“Especially when representing us as ambassadors of STCE … With mistakes come consequences and Coach Weber, and I support her, has decided that the consequences for not representing our school properly will be the loss of playing time.”

Sommerfeld’s email also said that each coach has a different approach of how to handle things “and I see no problem with the way coach Weber has handled the team thus far … Coach Weber is holding her team accountable for their actions and the boys have to operate within the framework of expectations and procedures she has laid out for them.”

Sommerfeld’s email also notes he has received two special report letters from the Illinois High School Association “in regards to the behavior and play of our water polo team so far this year. I have not received one letter this year up to that point. This has been highly disappointing to me.”

Blaney said the special reports are used as an officiating tool.

Two members of the varsity boys water polo team were ejected from a varsity tournament at Hoffman Estates High School on March 9, one for arguing with an official and the other for flagrant misconduct – comparable to a foul in basketball, Blaney said.

“Instead of a normal foul, it’s a higher level of foul addressed within the rules of the game,” Blaney said. “If you get ejected from an IHSA event, you cannot play in the next game. You sit out the next game.”

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