Assistant football coach resigns after allegations of assault
Following a parent’s accusations that Tahoe Truckee High School teacher and assistant football coach Darrell “Butch” Smith assaulted his son, Smith resigned from Tahoe Truckee Unified School District Jan. 10.
Ted Hansen accused Smith of assaulting his son, who was a student at Tahoe Truckee High School, at a junior varsity basketball game on Jan. 18, 2002, after Hansen’s son reportedly threw a gum wrapper in Smith’s direction. The incident occurred after several verbal altercations between Smith and Hansen’s son during school, Hansen said.
According to Hansen, several students at Tahoe Truckee High School have allegedly witnessed Smith verbally or physically assaulting students.
Whether or not the allegations led directly to Smith’s resignation, has not been determined.
Smith, an assistant football coach and physical education teacher, was contacted by the Sierra Sun, but refused to comment.
“It was [Smith’s] decision to leave the district,” said Jo Lynn Wilson, the assistant superintendent at Tahoe Truckee Unified School District. “I’d heard that he wanted to go back to Hawaii.”
Wilson said the circumstances of Smith’s resignation were confidential.
On Jan. 9, the day before Smith’s resignation, the California Commission on Teacher Credentialling’s Committee on Accreditation suggested Smith be suspended from the district for 10 days, based on the allegations. A hearing before the committee was held Nov. 20.
Smith appealed that decision.
“Under our process, [Smith] can request an administrative hearing,” said Mary Armstrong, the general counsel and director of the professional practices division at the commission.
Smith’s appeal, which will be heard by an independent administrative law judge, has not been scheduled, and it’s likely it won’t occur for at least a year to 18 months, Armstrong said.
Smith also faced similar allegations during his tenure in the early ’90s at Kalaheo High School in Hawaii, where he was ultimately put on leave for 10 days after he allegedly struck some of his students with a heavy leather belt. At the time, Smith called the allegations “unbelievable,” in a Honolulu Star-Bulletin article.
Before he was put on leave, a U.S. judge reinstated Smith as coach at Kalaheo after he was fired by the principal for allegedly using abusive language and racial epithets.
According to district Superintendent Jo Lynn Wilson, Tahoe Truckee Unified uses stringent hiring practices, which include an application, screening by a committee of administrators and teachers, a standard interview, background checks, calling previous employers and fingerprinting.
Wilson said she could not comment on the specifics of Smith’s hiring.