- Associated Press - Wednesday, December 10, 2014

JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) - The Juneau School District spent nearly $11,000 on a two-day seminar to teach coaches how to work with the media while it looks for cuts to meet a $2.5 million budget deficit.

The training held earlier this month came after several high-profile incidents for the district, including allegations of athlete hazing by upperclassmen and an assistant football coach being accused of punching a player during an out-of-state camp.

Officials said the seminar conducted by Anchorage-based Gonzalez Marketing wasn’t a result of a specific incident, the Juneau Empire reported Wednesday (https://is.gd/syhq9f ).

“This was part of the district’s efforts to effectively work with the media and learn how to handle different situations in the best interests of students and staff,” said Kristin Bartlett, the district’s chief of staff.

Coaches and staff were instructed on ways to use effective language in handling tough questions and ending uncomfortable interviews. Coaches were also taught to conduct themselves professionally after a loss.

Part of the $10,917 bill for the seminar included travel expenses. It was led by two officers of Gonzalez Marketing and a former news editor and TV anchor.

Coaches also were instructed on proper usage of social media and encouraged to teach students those lessons. Another topic discussed was whether coaches should connect with students on their personal social networking accounts.

Head coaches and principals were required to attend the sessions. Assistant coaches and advisers were also strongly encouraged to attend, according to an email sent last month by Student Services Director Bridget Weiss and obtained by the Juneau Empire.

Employees went to the sessions during non-working hours and weren’t paid for their time.

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Information from: Juneau (Alaska) Empire, https://www.juneauempire.com

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