Concerns raised against Davenport Central volleyball team’s coaching staff

At Monday evening’s Davenport Community School District School Board meeting, parents raised concerns to board members of alleged “adult bullying".
Published: Nov. 15, 2023 at 5:49 PM CST
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DAVENPORT, Iowa (KWQC) - At Monday evening’s Davenport Community School District School Board meeting, parents raised concerns to board members of alleged “adult bullying,” “verbal mistreatment” and “mental intimidation” taking place on the Davenport Central volleyball team regarding the team’s coaching staff, that has resulted in a hostile environment.

Amanda VanDerLeest, a parent of a Davenport Central volleyball player said she wanted to address concerns over Davenport Central volleyball team’s coaching staff.

VanDerLeest claimed that the girls on the team were not treated with respect and that they were presented with a learning environment that was not positive.

VanDerLeest claimed that when girls would approach the coaching staff with questions on skills, positioning, teammates, or concerns of their coaches that the coaches would negatively talk back to the players, speak negatively about players to their teammates, and belittle and intimidate the girls when they were verifying information, VanDerLeest claimed.

VanDerLeest also claimed that a teammates hair was pulled during a match by the head coach. VanDerLeest added that it was then “laughed off”.

VanDerLeest claims that the team suffered an entire season of being bullied by their coaches.

Another parent, and member of the coaching staff, Doug Darland, also addressed the school board and resigned from his coaching position.

“I have resigned my coaching position at this time because I’ve decided that I cannot work with a head coach that treats the players the way that the head coach does,” said Darland. “My daughter is a senior and is now done with this coach, but I do not want to take the attitude of ‘it’s not my problem anymore’ because her continued status of head coach is going to continue to have negative effects on future student athletes.”

Darland also claimed that there were a few girls on the team who had lower expectations than others.

Darland claims his daughter, a senior and setter was held to higher expectations than some other players.

“She was constantly being told in one way or another that she was not good enough,” reflected Darland. “Which turned into being accused of intentionally being disrespectful and ignoring the instructions of the coaches. Then she was referred to multiple times by one of the coaches as a ‘team cancer’ in front of the rest of the team.”

Darland claimed that the players on the team could not perform to the level of the coach’s expectations and were “mentally bullied as a result.”

Darland additionally claimed that the written and verbal communication that these players received created an objectively hostile environment.

According to Darland, seven volleyball players left the program during and after last season and another six to eight players and a coach are walking away this season.

“How many people need to leave the program?” reflected Darland. “How many people does this group of parents and players need to complain to before someone takes it seriously?”

Wednesday, Davenport Community School District issued the following statement:

“Davenport Community School District officials have investigated and addressed the matter. As per policy regarding personnel issues, the district is not at liberty to comment. As always, the goal of Davenport Community School District is to provide a safe and welcoming environment for educational and social experiences for our students and help grow excellence within the district.”

TV6 has reached out to coaching staff for comment.