Update (11:40 p.m. Tuesday): Roseville Area High School's boys head hockey coach Jeff Pauletti resigned Tuesday afternoon, then spoke at the School Board's evening meeting to refute some parents' allegations that he has bullied players.
Pauletti, a nine-year hockey coach at RAHS, said that he tendered his resignation at about 3:30 p.m. so he could publicly respond to his critics, who also accused him of financial wrongdoing in using his Top Shelf Athletic business to sell sporting equipment to the high school. While under a District 623 investigation, school officials had warned him to not comment on the case or risk getting fired, Pauletti explained.
In an interview after speaking to the School Board, Pauletti said he was relieved to resign, noting the complaints against him had taken a toll on his health and had caused him sleepless nights.
Pauletti said that about 10 days ago, his wife asked him to resign his hockey coaching position, Jen Pauletti explained the handful of disgruntled parents had created a "toxic" situation for she and her family.
Pauletti had been under a School district probe since last fall when a parent, Felicia Busch, contended that over the past few seasons he had bullied and humiliated some players, singling some of them out for harsh criticism and doing things such as throwing garbage cans and breaking hockey equipment.
At Tuesday's board meeting, Pauletti denied bullying players, adding that there were no restrictions on his coaching. He countered that his chief parent accuser, who he did not name, was upset beccause one of her sons got cut from the hockey team early this past season.
Pauletti denied throwing any garbage cans in the boys lockerroom but admitted accidently breaking a clipboard a few seasons back.
Meanwhile, Pauletti refuted allegations from Busch's group, Parents 4 Responsible Coaching, that he had misused his business Top Shelf Athletics in selling sporting goods equipment, including baseballs and athletic jackets, to the high school. (Kirsten Libby, an attorney for Parents 4 Responsible coaching, said in a e-mail to Roseville Patch that "from the perspective of this group, it is abundantly clear that there is no system in place in the athletic department guiding or governing purchases, and this has led to rampant and systemic abuse and conceivably fraud."
But Pauletti said he had done nothing wrong, always delivering on orders placed by the high school and selling equipment at very competitive and reasonable prices.
Summing up his frustrations with his accusers, Pauletti said, "I believe the School Board needs to put an end to this kind of bullying and harassment. This (school district investigation) has taken way too much time. The accusers have been allowed to come forward over and over with unfounded allegations. A blueprint is now now present on how to get rid of coaches."
Some of Pauletti's supporters agreed with his assertions, contending that his accusers had been allowed to engage in "a witchhunt" against him.
"It's wrong to accuse someone of wrongdoing without being able to defend themselves," said Ben Stephens, a graduate of the former Alexander Ramsey High School and now a Shoreview businessman.
Meanwhile, Robb and Linda Stecklein said their son has been in the Roseville High School hockey program and "we have seen nothing but good things."
Robb Stecklein contended, "There should be better things for people to do" rather than put coaches "under a microscope."
(Originial post: 5:42 p.m. Tuesday)
The Roseville School Board is expected to meet in a closed-door session tonight (Tuesday) to receive an update into the district's probe into some parents' complaints against two Roseville High School hockey coaches.
Karen Schaub, District 623 spokes person, said in an e-mail to Roseville Patch, "The School Board meeting that will be held today, May 8, will begin at 6:30pm. The meeting will be convened and the Board will immediately move into a closed session according to MN Statute 13D.05, subdivision 2(b) for preliminary consideration of allegations or charges against the Roseville Area High School hockey coaches.
"The community input portion of the meeting will be held immediately after the closed session at approximately 7:30p.m.," Schaub said.
hey were investigating parental complaints about two boys varsity hockey coaches, Jeff Pauletti and Carl Hamre, at Roseville High School.
The district has not divulged the reason for the probe, but parent Felicia Busch has accused the two coaches of bullying hockey players. Busch is a member and spokes person for at least a small group of parents who call themselves Parents 4 Responsible Coaching, which has retained attorney Kirsten Libby.
Contacted by Roseville Patch in February, Pauletti said the district has advised him not to comment on the investigation. "I wish I could, but I can't," he said hockey players.
Libby said today her group is questioning why the hockey investigation is taking so long, contending the inquiry is now entering its sixth month.
The Board also briefly met in executive session on April 24, reportedly to get an update on the hockey coaches probe.