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High School Coach Accused Of Striking Player

Reported: May. 28, 2014 11:30 PM EDT
Updated: May. 29, 2014 10:27 PM EDT

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CHARLESTON, W.Va (Stefano DiPietrantonio) - A former Riverside High School baseball coach is under fire, accused of striking one of his players across the face while on school grounds.

Now the player's parents want him gone from the classroom.

Eyewitness News spoke exclusively with the student's mother and their attorney Wednesday night.

The parents, as you might imagine, are still furious about the incident. They said it happened back in March, when then baseball coach Paul “Trey” Barcus was accused of striking a 16-year-old player across the face. He resigned as coach, just days later, but was still teaching at Riverside High School.

The boy's mom claims he should not be around children at all.

"I was furious!" said the mom, whose attorney, Travis Griffith, asked that her son not be identified.

She is still mad, about an alleged March 6 incident, involving her son and Barcus.

"He smacked him in the face once," she said.

And she said it happened after practice with several witnesses on hand. Barcus, she claimed, was barking at the players.

"Because he said, 'Do I have to treat you like babies?' " she said. She admitted her son had smarted-off back to Barcus.

"In a baby voice, 'No sir!' ” she said. “And he smacked him and told him he was disrespectful. Make him run, make him do push-ups, but don't smack him. I don't smack my kids."

An anonymous call to the school days later, led to her son getting questioned by Riverside principal Valerie Harper, and the incident was apparently caught on tape.

Harper was asked if there was a videotape of the alleged incident.

“Honestly, I don't know how to respond. I know the answer to that, but with any personnel issue, I would refer that question to Kanawha County School attorney Jim Withrow," Harper said.

Eyewitness News reached out to Withrow, but with no luck.

Still, plenty of parents at the Regional Semifinal game Wednesday night said, off camera, that their kids thought the world of Barcus.

"With Kanawha County Schools, they have a procedure black and white, of protocols of steps that we follow, whenever there's any allegation,” Harper said. “And it's my job, our job, to ensure the safety of our kids, and ensure that we follow those protocols and I can tell you that we have done that."

Within days, Barcus resigned as coach, but stayed on as teacher.

"If a teacher has struck a child, issued corporal punishment, which is prohibited by our state legislature, then they absolutely should not be around children and they should not be teaching anymore," Griffith, who has interviewed other students and former players as well, said.

"Coach Barcus had a history of grabbing players, throwing them around,” Griffith said. “But specifically, what stood out in this student's mind, was he would grab a student when they did something he felt was inappropriate, yank them towards him, then punch them in the chest, while holding their shirt the entire time."

Griffith said Barcus will be served at the school Thursday. Barcus has not been at Riverside since a few days after resigning as baseball coach, due to a personal family matter. Eyewitness News reached out to Kanawha School Superintendent Ron Duerring who said people can go to court and file things every day. He did not know the details of the case, so he could not comment.

Eyewitness News was unable to locate Barcus to get his take.

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