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School board member speaks out amid harassment allegations

SOUTH BEND, Ind. -

Allegations of intimidation and harassment are a few of the reasons one longtime basketball coach at Riley High School says he called it quits back in March.

Officials in South Bend Community School Corporation say they’re now investigating Leslie Wesley, a school board member at the center of the former coach’s claims.

But Wesley says those allegations are unfounded and hurtful.

“If individuals have a problem with me being on the school board, I just don’t want them to involve my children,” she said.

Wesley says before she became a member of the board, she and Coach Mark Johnson had a very friendly relationship.

She now questions whether she’s being targeted for merely being on the board.

“If I have to sacrifice my children, no, it’s not worth my children being humiliated, it’s not worth my children being harassed,” said Wesley.

Just five months into being installed as trustee of SBCSC, Wesley is being accused of abusing her new position to ensure her son was remained a basketball player at Riley High School.

She says that’s untrue.

“I wasn’t even on the board when my son was on the team, so I find that very interesting that I would have abused any power,” she said.

Johnson made those claims in emails to school administrators, according to the South Bend Tribune.

In those emails, he also alleged she tried to push an agenda on his program.

But she saw it differently.

She says she was one of a few involved parents supporting the team, even making these banners for the players.

This email the coach says proves she tried to intimidate him, she says was in response to hanging those banners in the gym.

The communication director for SBCSC confirmed they’re looking into those allegations.

“We’re waiting for the results of that investigation,” said School Board President Stan Wruble.

Wruble says the board has been cohesive since Wesley joined.

He hopes once this investigation wraps, they can shift the focus back to the students.

“As a whole, I think this is a board that members of our community should be proud of,” said Wruble.

That’s something Wesley wants as well.

But she’s still questioning if she’s being targeted.

“Everything changed after I got on the board, so that’s the mystery,” said Wesley.

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