BLOOMFIELD, Ind. (Sept. 11, 2015) -- A school district is upset with the Indiana High School Athletic Association for not divulging a motivational speaker's criminal past.
Bloomfield School Superintendent Dan Sichting said the school brought that speaker, Adam Ritz, in to teach 7th to 12th grade students about responsible uses of social media and that what's on the internet can come back to haunt you.
Ironically, Sichting said that students took the message to heart and researched Ritz, discovering that he was once registered as a sex offender.
"We live in a very conservative community. ... because the IHSAA had used him, we felt like he was probably appropriate," Sichting said.
The district sent a letter home to parents apologizing for the oversight and Sichting admitted they should've done more research. He said had they known Ritz's past, they would've allowed parents to opt their students out of the presentation.
IHSAA Commissioner Bobby Cox, however, expressed his support of Ritz and his presentations.
"I don’t think Adam’s trying to hide (his past) and the IHSAA’s not hiding that, that’s public knowledge," Cox said.
Ritz, who was a popular disc jockey in Indianapolis, spent time in prison after a 2004 conviction for sexual battery. He was registered as a sex offender but the conviction was recently expunged from his record.
Ritz makes presentations across the country, most often to college athletic teams. His website boasts letters of recommendation from dozens of colleges and he began speaking after his conviction, using what happened to him as part of his message.
"This has been over 10 years ago. (For) a young man who’s trying to do the right thing and these things are brought up again, I find it very unfortunate," Cox said.
Sichting, though, said Ritz did not talk about his experience in the presentation and did not divulge the information at all.
"I understand Mr. Ritz was tried, convicted, he did his time, he’s been rehabilitated. The issue here is not about Mr. Ritz, the issue here is about transparency and communication," Sichting said.