SANTA MARIA - Gavin Hall was just recently kicked-off the Righetti High School freshman football team where he was the starting quarterback.
Hall says he started complaining to his parents about extreme physical and verbal abuse by his coach Dutch Van Patten.
Now Hall is saying it's why he is no longer on the team.
"What I experienced was a lot of bullying and racial and homosexual remarks towards the members on the team", Hall said in interview this week with Central Coast News, "just constant threatening, like if you're not going to do this right then we're going to have to blow out your knee or something, we're not going to block right and you're going to end up injured or hurt and stuff like that."
Hall says he's played for coaches that use profanity and the occasional shove to motivate the team, but he says he's never seen anyone like what Coach Van Patten who also coaches wrestling at Righetti.
"I've never had a coach that literally would grab people and throw them away and like smack people in the head as hard as he had", Hall says, "he hit me so hard in the head that my ears were ringing and I couldn't see as well."
Hall says he got tired of the constant abuse and decided to tell his parents.
"I had been bothered by what he had been saying but I was just going let it slide and not do anything about it," Hall says, "but once he put his hands on me I realized it was just getting worse and worse and worse as the season went on, we're only three weeks in at this point and he's already hitting me in the back of the head, so it just came to a point where I couldn't handle it any longer."
Gavin's father says after warning other coaches and school administrators, he decided to confront Coach Van Patten at a practice.
"I let him know that he was not going hit my child ever again and that he was never going to coach my son or be around my son, and he got aggressive towards me," Richard Hall says.
Hall says he grabbed his son and began walking off the practice field when Coach Van Patten approached him, "I turned around and he was right up on me, his assistant started saying "let's do this, let's go at it!," he was throwing his arms in the air like he wanted to fight me so I felt there was no other thing I could do but call the police."
Hall says the School Resource Officer took a report which Hall says made him out to be the aggressor and the instigator and not Coach Van Patten.
Hall says his son was suspended from the team pending a school district investigation into the allegations of abuse.
Van Patten was also removed from coaching the team.
"After about two pretty solid days of investigations with over 20 individuals that we spoke to, we just found no merit to the charges that were brought against the coach", says Santa Maria Joint Union High School District Assistant Superintendent for Human Resources Tracy Marsh, "keep in mind that the coach has been a coach in our community for about 17 years, been involved in youth activities galore and you know he's a major part, and through those 17 years we've never had an incident of wrongdoing on his part in coaching students."
Marsh says no other parents or players have come forward to complain about Van Patten who has been cleared to return coaching the freshman team.
Richard Hall says he plans to transfer Gavin to another school and says what has happened is an example of breaking a code of silence.
"People don't want to report these things because they are afraid of the ramifications", Richard Hall says, "do you think that any other child would ever report misconduct when their star quarterback reported it and he was chastised for it and was kicked off the football team once they did that?"
"So they are taking the stance that you know, you better be quiet or something bad is going to happen to you", Hall says.
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