Twelve-year-old Dezi Hughes, one of two girls kidnapped by a convicted sex offender this year in Dayton, Ohio, was forced to sit out a volleyball game because she didn't dress "school-spirited" enough—a team rule on game day. Hughes and her friend Kathlyn Shepard were kidnapped together, but Hughes managed to escape. Shepard was murdered.
According to her mother, who spoke to WHO-TV, Hughes has been depending on volleyball as a sort of therapeutic exercise in the months since her kidnapping ordeal, both in an effort to rid herself to memories and to simply focus on being a kid again, and it is vital to her recovery. But her coach thought it more important to establish the rule for the team involving game day dress code in an effort to amp up school spirit. On this day, Hughes wore shorts and a long sleeved shirt, and the coach wasn't willing to budge.
“Every therapist that we have seen so far tells us that she needs an extracurricular activity, " said Jeanette Andrews, Hughes's mother. "Something that does not pertain to what happened. Therapy pertains to what happened. School pertains to what happened. They (had) seen each other every day at school,” she said, referring to Dezi's murdered friend.
Superintendent Launi Dane, however, sides with the coach, stating that while she understands that volleyball is part of Hughes's therapy, "there are certain expectations, there are rules for playing these sports…rules that need to be maintained."
"It’s the one place where she doesn’t have to think about it," said Andrews. "She just has to hit a ball and win for her team. What’s wrong with that? Just let her do it.”
Enjoy this piece?
… then let us make a small request. AlterNet’s journalists work tirelessly to counter the traditional corporate media narrative. We’re here seven days a week, 365 days a year. And we’re proud to say that we’ve been bringing you the real, unfiltered news for 20 years—longer than any other progressive news site on the Internet.
It’s through the generosity of our supporters that we’re able to share with you all the underreported news you need to know. Independent journalism is increasingly imperiled; ads alone can’t pay our bills. AlterNet counts on readers like you to support our coverage. Did you enjoy content from David Cay Johnston, Common Dreams, Raw Story and Robert Reich? Opinion from Salon and Jim Hightower? Analysis by The Conversation? Then join the hundreds of readers who have supported AlterNet this year.
Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Help ensure AlterNet remains independent long into the future. Support progressive journalism with a one-time contribution to AlterNet, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you. Click here to donate by check.