The parents of an Islip High School football player said suspended Shoreham-Wading River High School football coach Aden Smith “grabbed” their son “in the neck area and started shaking him back and forth” during a skirmish when the two teams scrimmaged on Aug. 30.
Smith was removed from his position as the school’s head football coach on Friday, Shoreham-Wading River Schools Superintendent Gerard Poole said in a statement.
“The district is currently investigating an incident involving the varsity football team’s head coach,” Poole's statement said. “The incident took place during a scrimmage against Islip on Aug. 30, 2019. While this investigation is underway, the head coach has been removed and the current assistant coaches will be leading the team.”
The superintendent did not provide details about the nature of the incident. Islip Schools Superintendent Ellen Semel said in a statement on Friday that a "brief scuffle took place among several players" and that the school was investigating.
Richard and Adele Valenzuela said Friday night they were not at the scrimmage where the incident occurred. Their son, Richie, a senior who plays guard and defensive end, told them after the scrimmage that there was a scuffle among players when he was suddenly grabbed by Smith.
"Out of nowhere he said the coach came running toward him, grabbed him in the neck area and started shaking him back and forth, back and forth. My son said he was in shock," the father said. "Total shock."
"Then while the coach was holding him, ... [a Shoreham-Wading River] player came and knocked him to the ground."
The Valenzuelas, speaking on behalf of their 17-year-old son, said Richie was not injured in the incident. The parents said they reported it to a school official, who told them the matter was being addressed.
Notified of the Valenzuelas’ account, Smith did not return a message seeking comment and Poole and Semel said through a school spokeswoman they did not have any further comment. Islip football coach Jamie Lynch did not return messages seeking comment on the Valenzuelas' account.
Smith is in his second year coaching at Shoreham-Wading River and is a teacher in the Longwood district.
On Friday, Longwood spokeswoman Pam Donovan said in a statement, "Longwood Central School District has been made aware of the allegation but cannot comment on personnel matters currently under investigation."
Donovan did not return messages seeking comment on the Valenzuelas' account.
"We don't want this to happen again to anyone by this coach," Adele Valenzuela said. "I would feel bad if this happened to another player."
She said her son told her he wasn't even involved in the play that led to this skirmish.
"I've never seen a coach, a grown man, do something like this,” Adele said. “He shouldn't be coaching.”