After the public session, the situation escalated into a shouting match between some members of the audience and some board members.
The district’s wrestling coach, Bill Jones, reportedly didn’t get a favorable performance review and wasn’t asked to return for the next season.
The speakers, a mixture of parents and current and former wrestlers, told of how the coach takes an interest in each student and does everything he can to help them succeed on the mat and in the classroom.
“He would give those kids all he had. He always went above and beyond for these kids every year,” said Patti Blauvelt. “He would help any kid with his homework, even if it was on the phone. He raised money so kids who wanted to go to summer camp could go. He took his own money and time to do whatever he could for the good of the team.”
“You couldn’t ask for a better coach,” added her son, Ryan, who won the Section III championship in wrestling last year and came in fourth in the state championships.
“I don’t know the reason why (the district didn’t reinstate him),” an emotional Mark Roy told the board, fighting back tears. “But there are more reasons to keep him then not. He’s a great guy.”
After the last speaker, the board continued with the next agenda item.
Several audience members protested challenging the board to respond to the coaching issue.
When board member John Dunsmoor began to explain the board was discussing the coach in executive session, board president Dave White intervened; that infuriated the audience even more.
“That’s a personnel issue, for executive session. We’re not going to discus someone’s job in public. It’s not fair to do that,” he said.
“You don’t give anybody a reason for nothing!” shouted David Blauvelt as White walked off the stage and into the audience followed by Dunsmoor. “It’s about time you all said something, that’s what we’re here for!
White chastised him for his disruptive behavior and told him if he had to “call the cops and have you thrown out, I’d be happy to do it.”
The two continued to converse several minutes. Nearby, Dunsmoor talked with more of the coach’s supporters.
After about 10 minutes, the board members returned to their seats and continued the meeting.
The coach’s supporters left.
White didn’t adequately answer his questions, he said.
“You don’t get anywhere with ignorance. I just think this whole board is all wrong,” he said. “They don’t want to give nobody answers; they just want to do what they want to do. He’ll get back to us after they have their little session, that’s it, that’s all he said.”
Asked following the meeting whether the district currently has a wrestling coach, White replied, “Apparently not.”
Dunsmoor noted the coach wasn’t reappointed “because we weren’t happy with his (evaluation).”
At the conclusion of the regular meeting, the board returned to executive session. It is believed the coaching position was the sole item to be discussed.
“People get excited about this sort of stuff,” White said on his way into the second executive session. “We don’t discuss a person’s evaluation or job in public.”