THERAPY GAME: Victim Of Kidnapping Can’t Play

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Dezi Hughes is one of two girls who was kidnapped by a convicted sex offender this year in Dayton.

On Tuesday she was forced to sit out a volleyball game that her family considers part of her therapy because the school doesn’t believe she dressed well enough during the day.

Since the kidnapping, Dezi has tried to focus on being a kid again. One way she does that is on the volleyball court.  But her school has a policy that requires student athletes to dress up on game days to show their school pride, and Dezi didn’t.  She wore shorts and a long sleeved shirt.  So she was sidelined.

Her mother says, considering all Dezi went through, the school should be willing to bend the rules a little.

"Every therapist that we have seen so far tells us that she needs an extracurricular activity.  Something that does not pertain to what happened.  Therapy pertains to what happened.  School pertains to what happened. They seen each other every day at school," says Dezi's mother, Jeanette Andrews.

"I mean really?  It's the one place where she doesn't have to think about it.  She just has to hit a ball and win for her team.  What's wrong with that?  Just let her do it."

But Southeast Webster-Grand Superintendent Launi Dane says rules are rules,  "I understand this is part of her therapy but I understand as she grows there will be rules that need to be maintained."

"We have a good conduct policy, I can't bend that.  There are certain expectations...there are rules for playing these sports," Dane adds.

Dezi and her friend, Kathlynn Shepard, were abducted as they walked home from school in May.

Dezi escaped from the kidnapper, but Shepard was murdered.  The kidnapper, Michael Klunder, later committed suicide.


  • piranha

    I have only one thing to say about this: Public Schools. This is what we get. The deeper the government gets in our lives………

  • Erin

    Actually rules and boundaries are good for trauma victims, especially kids it lets them know that things are normal, and that those in authority will take care of them

  • Blaster06

    Not sure why this is news. Yes it is and will always be a tragic thing that she went through. She will have to live with it the rest of her life. Also in life there are rules/laws that we all must go by. I commend the school for sticking to their rules. When she gets older and gets a speeding ticket are we going to have it on tv 13 also that the officer didn’t let her go and wrote her a ticket?

  • Jimmy B

    OK….so how does a story like this make it on the news and print?
    Did the parents call WHO up?
    I mean…come on parents.
    Are you all attention whor-es or what?

  • CB

    shame on WHO for making this a news events……Kudos to the administration at the school for their integrity.

  • Kamandak

    How does having every single ‘event’ in her life covered by the local media coincide with therapy and getting back to being a regular kid?

  • Jason

    From second hand information I’ve heard, the school board put to a vote to ban the color purple and the Kathlynne’s ribbon as well which wasn’t included in the news story. It so far has been covered up and hasn’t surfaced. From an outside perspective from what I’ve seen, the administrators are going out of there way to make life challenging for this young girl and her recovery. Shame on them. They should be asked to sit on the sidelines and think about their actions.

  • kam

    Nothing has been banned from the school. My kids where their Kathlynn’s hope t-shirts to school quite often and students can wear ribbons if they choose. These types of rumors make the school look bad when in fact the only thing they are trying to do is ensure every student follows the same rules. Dressing up for games has been a rule for years. If not everyone is forced to follow the rules then the next news segment will be discrimination because one student got to ignore the rules and another had to follow them.

  • Lisa Carter

    I am sorry that this was a hugely tragic and impactful event in this young girls life, however, is there a reason that she could not have “dressed up” along with her team on that day. I guess I don’t get why she didn’t. As a former athlete and team mate, that is just what you do, it shows cohesiveness and pride within the “team”. She has to decide whether to be the victim always (which she always will be) or to work to rise above it and when things don’t go her way to not use it as a crutch. Please don’t misunderstand my logic in thinking I am not being sympathetic, I truly am. I just really want to know her reasons for not dressing up.

  • richard fiser

    Ummmm, I would think the dress code at private schools would be stricter and there would be NO exceptions there.

  • Nicole

    I really don’t see why this is news either. Ms.Dane refusing to bend the rules is not news at all. I was a student there 10 years ago and she didn’t bend the rules then either. I know she’s been thru a lot but people continuing to treat her like a victim isn’t going to help her heal.

  • joy

    This isn’t news. This is a little girl acting out with a bad attitude and using a horrific event in her life as an excuse. Rules are rules and there should be no execeptions for anyone.

  • TW

    Shame on Channel 13 for evening considering this news! Seems a little tabloid style to me. How come no one else is covering it?!? AND, i twas a one game sit from my understanding and the girl has had no problems dressing up for all the other games they have played this season, even the day before. Looking nice for game days is NOT a new concept people! Been around for years. And YES people from not just your school see you, the visiting teams, their parents, officials and those that come to watch the games. Nothing looks worse that a team that doesn’t have the self respect or self pride to look nice. Move on people. Leave the community, the school, the families alone so they can all try and find a sense of normalcy after such a tragic event!

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