Lawsuit filed against Duncan Public Schools and Athletic Director

Lawsuit filed against Duncan Public Schools and Athletic Director

DUNCAN, OK (KSWO)- A Duncan family has filed a petition against Duncan Public Schools and Duncan High School Athletic Director, Craig Benson.
The family accuses Benson of harassment, assault and battery, intentional infliction of emotional distress and negligent hiring and retention.

The student athlete claims Benson yelled at him, spit in face, and insulted him at a wrestling tournament that happened in December of last year.Several people said they were shocked when they heard the news, some said the claims are bogus, and others said they're supporting him.

Duncan Quarterback Club President Kelly Kirkland said the petition was another case of parents complaining because someone had to discipline their child.
"I think in this day and age teachers and coaches are in a difficulty position. Parents don't want to discipline their kids ad home, they don't respect authority, and it puts the teachers and coaches in a hard spot because they have do it at school and unfortunately the kids have to be reprimanded. They are not perfect, they have to learn how to act and how to respect authority and a lot of them don't," said Kirkland.
One woman said she heard about the petition days ago and she's glad someone is finally speaking out.
"My thoughts were good somebody needs to do something about it. Somebody needs to take Benson down. He needs to be held liable  for everything that he has done to the kids, to the parents, to the teachers, some that have quit, and some that have lost their jobs," said the woman.
Kirklands' son plays football for Benson and said he has never had a problem.
"My experience with Craig and his staff is that they are consistent with the kids, they require a lot out of them, they expect them to be respectful, and to act like young men," said Kirkland.
The mother said her son played football but she didn't want him to play last year because of how she says Benson treated him.
"Didn't want to play football with him because he was so mean, and hateful," said the woman.
The petition contends Benson gave the student athlete instructions while preparing for a wrestling tournament.  It goes on to claim, moments later Benson began shouting at the student, and accused the student of insubordination. The student claims Benson spit in his face. It goes on to allege Benson followed the student into the gym and insulted in front of other students.
The woman said no child should be treated that way.

"No they don't need to spitting in the kids faces, no not at all I think that is un-called for. He shouldn't be a coach, he shouldn't even be there as a teacher, he shouldn't be the athletic coordinator. He mistreats the kids and people are just too afraid to stand up to the administration and the school and I for one am not. I'm not afraid to stand up to them," said the woman.

"The coaches do their job preparing them to be adults and we as a booster club try and do what we can to  support that so my experience has been very positive and the vast majority of people feel the same way. You don't hear those people because the only people you hear the ones that complain," said Kirkland.

Benson released this statement to 7News, "I deny the allegations and I am going to vigorously defend myself," said Benson.

Duncan Public Schools Superintendent Melanie Hau also released a statement

"While we are aware of the filing of the lawsuit, neither the District nor our legal counsel has had an opportunity to fully review and analyze its specifics.The District does not comment on pending litigation. However, we consider the well-being of our students of paramount importance.We believe that it is important to note that the lawsuit does not allege in any way that the District employee ever physically harmed or made direct physical contact with the student. Legal counsel for the District will respond to the lawsuit in a timely manner," said Hau.

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