Lane Tech girls softball coach fired for messaging students too much

Lane Tech High School’s girls softball coach has been fired without the possibility of working again for the Chicago Public Schools after officials reviewed what they deemed too many communications with students.

Charles Rocha, who in May led the girls’ varsity team at Lane Tech to the city championship, was fired Oct. 5, about a week after CPS officials said they received a complaint from parents about how he had been communicating with students. They found that his messages were in violation of a new policy governing how adult staffers may email and text students aimed at eliminating “grooming.”

“We are not aware of any electronic communication that was sexual in nature, but the frequency, manner of communication and concerns raised by parents constituted multiple violations of CPS policy and warranted termination,” spokeswoman Emily Bolton said.

Bolton couldn’t say Friday how many other CPS staffers have been disciplined since August when the new policy, prompted by a sexual abuse scandal uncovered by the Chicago Tribune, took effect.

Fired Lane Tech girls softball coach Charles Rocha.

Fired Lane Tech girls softball coach Charles Rocha. | Twitter

As an hourly employee, Rocha could be fired immediately.

He did not return messages seeking comment.

As of August, CPS teachers and other adults working in the city’s schools are barred from using personal social media or email accounts to communicate with any student and are allowed to text or otherwise message high school students only with explicit parental permission and about specific, school-related topics.

Contributing: Michael O’Brien

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