The girls’ basketball teacher at Okarche High School quit after a parent complained and said they might sue. Okarche’s superintendent, Josh Sumrall, says Haley Mitchel quit after an anonymous letter told the school that Mitchel was too hard on her athletes’ mental health and feared a lawsuit like the one that was recently filed against Kingfisher for hazing.
According to Superintendent Sumrall, Mitchel has been the head basketball coach for girls at Okarche High School for four years, and he has never heard any complaints about her or the way she coaches. However, he did hear from a parent who recently complained to Mitchel herself.
“She had a parent come in and complain about some coaching, her coaching style,” Sumrall explained. “The verbiage of mental abuse and mind games was brought up.”
Sumrall says the parent also talked about the recent case against Kingfisher and said, “It could happen at Okarche at any time.” “Then we received an anonymous email saying the same thing,” stated Sumrall.
Parents at Kingfisher High School sued the school’s football coach last year, saying he physically and mentally abused students. The district settled the case for $5 million, and the coach was later charged with child neglect.
“The email that talked about the Kingfisher lawsuit said that they had talked to a lawyer and were just claiming some tough coaching, which is what I call coaching…” “Too hard on the kids, and you brought up mental abuse,” Sumrall said.
Sumrall says Coach Mitchel saw the letter as a possible threat of a lawsuit for mental abuse, which is what made her quit her job as a coach. Her two backup coaches then did the same.
“Her reason, I guess, is that she doesn’t want to put herself and her family through what happened at Kingfisher,” explained Sumrall. “She is still employed here as our curriculum director and assistant principal, along with her other two assistants that are still employed here; they just resigned their coaching.” Sumrall says he accepts her choice and backs her up completely.
“I don’t want her to stop coaching, but that’s her decision, and then I’ll respect that and I will support her,” he stated. “We’re just trying to get through this and do the best we can for the students. Focus on the students.” Fox 25 did try to get in touch with Mitchel but couldn’t.