South Bend wrestling coach quits following Silver Beach brawl
A South Bend high school wrestling coach wants charges filed after a massive fight broke out on Silver Beach in St. Joseph Monday night.
That coach has now also quit his job.
Tony McWilliams was the coach at Washington High School.
He says his two daughters – a sophomore and an eighth grader – were jumped as they were getting ready to leave the beach.
McWilliams says his daughters have been bullied by these girls for nearly two years.
This brawl was the last straw.
"I was at the school Friday because the girls made threats Thursday that they were going to kick my daughters' butts," said McWilliams.
Then on Monday McWilliams says those nightmares became a reality.
This beach-side brawl was captured on video.
"It's heartbreaking. Still to see it right now, it makes me upset and sad for my daughters to be in that situation and to get pepper sprayed, you know?"
McWilliams says the bullies started confronting his oldest daughter over a boy.
"My daughters aren't perfect by any means. I'm sure they have said things too, but it's not a group of my daughters and their friends messing with one girl, this is a group of girls messing with both my daughters. You can only mess with someone so many times and they're going to react somehow."
McWilliams says he's approached the South Bend Community School Corporation many times about the bullying. He says teachers at Washington have allowed his oldest to leave class early and even eat lunch alone to avoid her attackers.
Now he says the school is planning to suspend her, but give her full class credit.
“It seems like she's being punished for a group of girls harassing her, which doesn’t seem fair to me at all." McWilliams said.
The district did release this statement: "Our schools take reports of bullying very seriously. We have a process to report and investigate instances of bullying."
McWilliams says that process isn't working.
"I'm contacting lawyers right now because I don't feel like their policies are any good for bullying. If it’s zero tolerance, that means zero. That doesn't mean 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 chances and you don't do anything."
Berrien County Sheriff Paul Bailey says his department spent several hours last night interviewing the people involved in the fight.
He plans on submitting reports to the prosecutor early next week.
McWilliams says he resigned to avoid any conflict of interest if he files a lawsuit.
Since he resigned his coaching position, he says a lot of people have reached out to him sharing stories of their children being bullied and the district not doing anything. McWilliams says many of those people are strangers to him.