Baseball: Kennedy parents to rally in support of Manny Alvarado
Parents of Granada Hills Kennedy High baseball players have called for a march Monday morning at 7:30 at Kennedy in support of Coach Manny Alvarado, who is facing a three-week suspension for an alleged hazing incident in November.
Kennedy is being barred by Principal Suzanne Blake from playing in two tournaments this spring as punishment to the team. Players and Alvarado had to attend bullying classes last month.
Two students in the Kennedy baseball class got into a fight outside the weight room in a November incident. Alvarado was in the weight room and did not see the fight. He was placed on administrative leave, then reinstated. Parents said they were told at a meeting with Blake in December that the incident had been dealt with.
"We stopped all action because we were told 'We're putting this all behind us,' " said Cindy Kuykendall, mother of Kennedy catcher Chris Mallon. "We're not backing off any more."
Alvarado learned this week he will have to serve a three-week suspension without pay as punishment. He is appealing the decision. Blake has alleged that there have been previous cases of hazing in the program, according to Kuykendall.
According to a statement from the Los Angeles Unified School District communication office, "The District responded to concerns, investigated and took appropriate action to ensure the safety of students on the Kennedy High School campus. Coach Manny Alvarado remains the baseball coach of Kennedy High School. Any litigation or personnel matters concerning Alvarado are confidential and cannot be publicly discussed."
Alvarado, in his 24th season as coach, said he has been unaware of any "organized hazing" ritual to be part of the program.
-- Eric Sondheimer