12-Year-Old Kidnap Victim Forced to Sit Out of Therapeutic Volleyball Game Because She Dressed Wrong

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.”

Understand the importance of honest news ?

So do we.

The past year has been the most arduous of our lives. The Covid-19 pandemic continues to be catastrophic not only to our health - mental and physical - but also to the stability of millions of people. For all of us independent news organizations, it’s no exception.

We’ve covered everything thrown at us this past year and will continue to do so with your support. We’ve always understood the importance of calling out corruption, regardless of political affiliation.

We need your support in this difficult time. Every reader contribution, no matter the amount, makes a difference in allowing our newsroom to bring you the stories that matter, at a time when being informed is more important than ever. Invest with us.

Make a one-time contribution to Alternet All Access, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you.

Click to donate by check.

DonateDonate by credit card
Donate by Paypal

Don't Sit on the Sidelines of History. Join Alternet All Access and Go Ad-Free. Support Honest Journalism.