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Family says high school wrestler suspended for something he didn't do

Posted at 11:23 PM, Dec 05, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-05 23:25:12-05

COWAN — A mother in Delaware County is calling attention to what she said is an unfair practice and bad judgment at Cowan High School.

White said her 11th grade son, Preston, was accused of stealing a pair of shoes on Oct. 7 while attending a volleyball game at New Prairie High School in Northern Indiana.

"It makes zero sense to me and it just breaks my heart because it kills his dedication and his morale because he is so adamant about his wrestling. It's what drives him," White said. "My son did not take these shoes. I definitely questioned him about the scenario. My son's character, he wouldn't steal."

With his wrestling season on the line, Preston, along with his mom and dad, reluctantly made an agreement with Cowan High School to remedy the situation by paying for the $140 shoes.

"You suggested the scenario at hand, you pay for them you wouldn't receive charges, which I feel he was bullied into that. But we did what we thought would keep him wrestling," White said.

A friend watching the match with Preston later admitted to stealing the shoes, clearing Preston's name, but that wasn't enough to keep the third-year wrestler from being suspended from the team for 25% of the season.

"He doesn't deserve this. He's a great student. He's a great athlete. He's a great person, period," White said.

The length of Preston's suspension is in accordance with Cowan High School's student handbook, which lists misdemeanor and felony criminal activity, including theft, as grounds for discipline. However, Preston was never charged with a crime.

The district superintendent told RTV6 they cannot comment on the matter due to privacy restrictions. Preston watched his first team's first meet of the year Thursday night while sitting on the sidelines.

"I always thought I was ready for it and today its here and it's kinda really sad you know that I'm not participating with my team, you know. That's where I want to be at," Preston said.