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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Wednesday, November 1, 2006

Volleyball players sue school

By Ken Kobayashi
Advertiser Courts Reporter

Two former members of the Kamehameha Schools boys' volleyball team filed a lawsuit yesterday alleging they were wrongfully kicked out of school for drinking alcohol after the 2004 state tournament championship match in Hilo.

The suit by Kinsley "Ikaika" Shelton and Ernest Vidinha III, both now 19, alleges they were treated unfairly and Kamehameha and its officials failed to adequately supervise the team.

Kamehameha Schools spokeswoman Ann Botticelli said the school had not yet received a copy of the lawsuit. "Since we haven't seen a copy of the complaint, we won't be commenting, but we will be filing an answer through the process," she said.

The suit, which asks for an unspecified amount of damages, is against Kamehameha Schools, school officials and Pono Ma'a, the team's coach, who resigned earlier this year.

The Advertiser was unable to reach Ma'a for comment last night.

According to the suit, Shelton and Vidinha were student-athletes in "good standing" with no prior disciplinary records at the school. Shelton and Vidinha were also considered strong players. Vidinha was named to the Advertiser's All-State first team; Shelton was an honorable-mention player.

The suit said after the championship game on Nov. 14, 2004, several members of the team saw their coaches, including Ma'a, and volunteer assistant coaches drink alcohol in the coaches' hotel rooms.

Shelton and Vidinha and two other team members later consumed alcohol with volunteer assistant coaches at the volunteer assistant coaches' room and in a nearby park.

The volunteer assistant coaches provided the alcohol, the suit said.

On Nov. 26, 2004, Shelton and Vidinha were notified they were summarily expelled from the school for committing "a zero-tolerance infraction," the suit said.

The two other team members were disciplined for drinking, but not expelled, the suit said.

The suit said the school acted in an "arbitrary, inequitable and capricious" manner.

As a result, the two suffer the loss of "valuable educational and athletic opportunities."

Reach Ken Kobayashi at kkobayashi@honoluluadvertiser.com.