By Manny Figueroa
Bonners Ferry Fifth and Sixth Grade Football Program
As the person having oversight of the Bonners Ferry fifth and sixth grade football program, I am shocked and disgusted to learn of the allegations against volunteer coach Bill Blumenauer.
I would like to assure all in the community, especially the parents of the young athletes who have played and will play in this youth program, that the safety of our players has and always will be paramount.
The Fifth and Sixth grade program is a private club not affiliated with the Boundary County School District. Our sole purpose is to introduce these young Badgers to the fundamentals of the sport, give them guidance and experience on the field and instill positive character traits such as sportsmanship, fair play and teamwork that will benefit them in all life’s endeavors.
All of the coaches are volunteers who either have or have had children participating in the program. While background checks are not currently conducted, it would have not changed or brought knowledge to this criminal allegation.
Practices are conducted behind the middle school and are open to all. There are usually three to five coaches present on the field at all times. Both the Boundary County Middle School and Bonners Ferry High School teams all practice in the same area at the same time.
Parents are almost always in the area watching practices as well. Continuous and thorough oversight by multiple coaches involved in this program was strictly maintained at all times. While we are a team of coaches, we are also parents ourselves and always have the safety and well-being of our team as a priority.
I have spoken to all coaches and volunteers involved in this program. We are all stunned by the allegations. None of us ever witnessed any sign of abuse or had any indication that it had occurred.
At this point it is up to the court system to decide guilt or innocence.
While we do not believe that any illegal activity occurred during any of our program activities, we strongly encourage parents to speak to their children about these allegations and if they suspect any abuse or have concerns, they contact the Bonners Ferry Police Department at (208) 267-2412.