After two school board meetings where students, parents, and other coaches sang the praises of fired Methacton Wrestling Coach Maida, the Superintendent of Methacton School District Dr. David Zerbe reinstated the coach. The announcement came at a 9 a.m. Saturday morning meeting after the post prom celebrations, on April 27. A more formal statement was released on May 6’s Methacton School Board meeting.
The hue and cry over the coach’s firing did up the stakes for those involved. Instead of a vanilla, oh-let’s-just-past-this statement on the behalf of the administration, there needs to be a level of public accounting for what happened here. The number of people who stood up and weighed in on this issue deserve a legitimate explanation.
Prior to the re-instatement, the administration and all parties could stand behind the generic “we cannot talk about this because it is a personnel matter”.
Now it is time to talk. I like the concept of Stupid Questions. Back in school good teachers would say the only Stupid Questions were the ones not asked. The following must be Stupid Questions because they aren’t getting asked…
· If a member of the faculty can be publically humiliated (that is what happened before the large crowd of people came to his aid) then on what date will those in charge of the humiliation publically stand up and explain themselves?
· What was the full rationale for initially releasing the coach?
· What exact policies and procedures were violated by the coach? Did he put a child in jeopardy? When the coach was initially released, he could not fully explain what he did wrong to merit this form of discipline.
· Does that reflect the boss or the worker?
· Are there clear personnel policies in place?
· Are they published for all to see?
· Is the only reason the public hears about this is because a large vocal group stood up?
· Is this the only member of the faculty has been treated this way?
· The administration asks students be held to a standard of accountability, is it not fair that the administration be held to a standard also?
· What policies are in place for administrators who step over the line?
These questions go the higher level of how Methacton does business. If a culture of administrative intimidation exists it needs to be corrected ASAP. (My mind’s eye still sees the coach who clapped for each person who spoke on behalf of Coach Maida. When asked why they would not speak - answered they were afraid of getting into trouble.)
If there are no guidelines, then the school district may end up repeating past mistakes when firing members of the administration and costing the taxpayers resources that are intended to serve the kids in the district.
But even more than that – they owe the kids accountability and credibility.