Apr 13, 2011
Did Coach Lose Job To Race Or Running Up The Score?

ANDERSON, Ind. — , School board members vowed to look into the firing of a middle school basketball coach after parents lobbied for his reinstatement Tuesday and one parent said the matter has become a race issue.

During the monthly meeting of the Anderson Community School Corp.’s board of trustees, parents of eighth-grade basketball players asked the board to give former Highland Junior High School coach Phillip Washington his job back.

Washington said he was notified on March 1 that he had been fired as coach of the team, stating that school officials accused him of having a “win at all costs” attitude.

On Tuesday, community member Primus Mootry challenged the board to explain the firing.(Editor’s Note: Mootry, a former Anderson High School teacher, writes a weekly column for The Herald Bulletin. It can be found on Page A11 in today’s edition.)

“He taught those kids dignity, Mootry said of Washington.

School officials have not disclosed reasons behind Washington’s firing, but Superintendent Felix Chow said he supports Highland Principal Patrick Fassnacht’s decision to let him go as coach.

Washington retains his position as a health teacher at Highland.

Washington believes he was fired for allowing his team to beat another team 111-18 during a tournament in Muncie.

During that same game, Washington alleges, his players faced racial taunts from the opposing team.

Mootry said he asked around about Washington’s firing. I could find nothing that would justify the dismissal of Phillip Washington from a coaching job, he said.

Parent John Clemmons said the parents have tried to get answers regarding Washington’s firing but school officials do not disclose the details of personnel issues.

He is beyond reproach when it comes to character, Clemmons said.

Without answers, Clemmons said, some are starting to question the school district’s motives. Our community, the black community, feels it has to do a lot with his race.”

Board member Irma Hampton Stewart said Washington has filed a complaint with a local human resources board, but she believes board members should investigate the firing further.

Washington was praised for his dedication to his students during the meeting, explaining that he helped them with homework and encouraged them to succeed academically.

Stewart said the board must look into his firing since one of the district’s goals is to raise the graduation rate and the black male graduation rate is low.

“If we do not look at the facts and circumstances, we may be impeding our ability to realize a goal we’ve specified, she said.

Board President Scott Green said the board will review the details and investigate the issue further.

Karen Whittaker, the grandparent of a basketball player on Washington’s team, said she’d never witnessed Washington behaving in any way that would justify his dismissal. I think you should all be in awe of his sportsmanship, his leadership. This should have never come this far.”

Mootry ended by asking that the board reinstate Washington as coach of the eighth-grade basketball team, stating that the dismissal has damaged Washington’s reputation. “Give the man his name back.”

Did Coach Lose Job To Race Or Running Up The Score?

Herald Bulletin (Anderson, Ind.), Brandi Watters

http://heraldbulletin.com/education/x1278096579/Parents-lobby-for-basketball-coach-s-job

ANDERSON, Ind. —, School board members vowed to look into the firing of a middle school basketball coach after parents lobbied for his reinstatement Tuesday and one parent said the matter has become a race issue. During the monthly meeting of the Anderson Community School Corp.’s board of trustees, parents of eighth-grade basketball players asked the board to give former Highland Junior High School coach Phillip Washington his job back. Washington said he was notified on March 1 that he had been fired as coach of the team, stating that school officials accused him of having a “win at all costs” attitude. On Tuesday, community member Primus Mootry challenged the board to explain the firing.(Editor’s Note: Mootry, a former Anderson High School teacher, writes a weekly column for The Herald Bulletin. It can be found on Page A11 in today’s edition.) “He taught those kids dignity, Mootry said of Washington. School officials have not disclosed reasons behind Washington’s firing, but Superintendent Felix Chow said he supports Highland Principal Patrick Fassnacht’s decision to let him go as coach. Washington retains his position as a health teacher at Highland. Washington believes he was fired for allowing his team to beat another team 111-18 during a tournament in Muncie. During that same game, Washington alleges, his players faced racial taunts from the opposing team. Mootry said he asked around about Washington’s firing. I could find nothing that would justify the dismissal of Phillip Washington from a coaching job, he said. Parent John Clemmons said the parents have tried to get answers regarding Washington’s firing but school officials do not disclose the details of personnel issues. He is beyond reproach when it comes to character, Clemmons said. Without answers, Clemmons said, some are starting to question the school district’s motives. Our community, the black community, feels it has to do a lot with his race.” Board member Irma Hampton Stewart said Washington has filed a complaint with a local human resources board, but she believes board members should investigate the firing further. Washington was praised for his dedication to his students during the meeting, explaining that he helped them with homework and encouraged them to succeed academically. Stewart said the board must look into his firing since one of the district’s goals is to raise the graduation rate and the black male graduation rate is low. “If we do not look at the facts and circumstances, we may be impeding our ability to realize a goal we’ve specified, she said. Board President Scott Green said the board will review the details and investigate the issue further. Karen Whittaker, the grandparent of a basketball player on Washington’s team, said she’d never witnessed Washington behaving in any way that would justify his dismissal. I think you should all be in awe of his sportsmanship, his leadership. This should have never come this far.” Mootry ended by asking that the board reinstate Washington as coach of the eighth-grade basketball team, stating that the dismissal has damaged Washington’s reputation. “Give the man his name back.”






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