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Football coach dismissed after investigation into possible spiking of water with male enhancement drug

Football coach dismissed after investigation into possible spiking of water with male enhancement drug
Students at Bernstein High are alleged to have spiked water bottles with a male enhancement drug during a junior varsity football practice in July.

Allegations that two students at Bernstein High in Hollywood spiked the water at a junior varsity football practice with a male enhancement drug prompted an investigation that led to the dismissal of varsity coach Luis Barajas.

The investigation of the July 12 incident discovered that Barajas had failed to notify school officials or parents that players had possibly ingested contaminated water until two weeks later, according to a report The Times obtained through the Public Records Act.

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Barajas, who was dismissed Aug. 7, also was cited in the report for failing to secure a permit for practice.

The report showed the investigation discovered the athletics department had not properly vetted an assistant coach and that the school allowed students to practice before their academic eligibility was verified.

“No parent complaints were received at Bernstein, school police [were] not involved, no testing of the alleged contaminated water took place and there [were] no student illness reports,” according to a statement by the general counsel’s office for Los Angeles Unified School District.

District spokeswoman Barbara A. Jones said in an email on Tuesday that parents were not notified because the district “did not find evidence that any student actually drank the contaminated water.”

She said no testing of the water took place because it had been discarded by the time the allegation was reported.

Dr. Richard Ferkel, a San Fernando Valley-based orthopedic surgeon, said it would be difficult to determine the potential danger if a teenager ingested a male enhancement drug without knowing how much was digested. He said if anyone was taking medication with nitrates because of high blood pressure, consumption of a male enhancement drug could produce a change in blood pressure.

Barajas did not return voice mails and emails seeking comment.

The district would not comment on the status of the students or any disciplinary action.

The varsity team forfeited a game earlier this season because of safety concerns after too many injuries. It has since resumed play and is 1-3 on the season heading into a game Friday against Lincoln.

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