Bellevue student-athlete disciplined by school after hair-pulling video goes viral

Published: Feb. 10, 2020 at 5:48 PM EST
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A Bellevue girl's basketball player was caught on camera pulling an opponent's ponytail during Saturday's game, causing the Norwalk player to lose her footing and fall to the ground.

The Bellevue Superintendent says high school senior and basketball standout Casey Santoro was the athlete on camera who pulled an opponent's ponytail during a game against Norwalk.

The video clip went viral, with some parents asking for the Ohio High School Athletic Association to step in. 13abc reached out to both school districts for a comment.

"First and foremost, I am concerned with the health of our injured student athlete," George Fisk, superintendent for Norwalk Schools. "She is a fantastic, hardworking young lady and in no way deserved the aggressive unsportsmanlike action taken against her. I have been in contact with the administration of Bellevue City Schools, they have assured me that appropriate action will be taken upon the conclusion of their investigation.

"Additionally, it is my hope the Ohio High School Athletic Association will not remain silent and uninvolved in this situation."

Meanwhile, the Bellevue superintendent Kim Schubert said the situation has been "addressed."

"Since viewing the video on Saturday, with the knowledge that no foul was called during the game, we quickly came to the conclusion that it would be our obligation to address the incident with disciplinary action, and we have done so," Schubert said via email. "... Our priority is the health and safety of all student athletes, including athletes at opposing schools and our own athletes."

Bellevue High School Athletic Director Brian Schubert weighed in as well, saying, "We are aware of the incident. As a school we promote positive sportsmanship and the situation is being addressed. "

Some parents are taking to social media questioning why the officials did not see the incident or make a call. We reached out the Ohio High School Athletic Association, and Tim Stried, the senior communications director, admits officials missed the call but points out there are hundreds of calls in every game. The officials will not be penalized by the OHSAA.

OHSAA is aware of the incident and leaders have reviewed the video showing what happened. They are currently working with both schools to see what happens next. OHSAA does have the authority to penalize the player.