By Dave Whitmire
Some members of the Board of Education in Davis are using their power to micro-manage the athletic program at Davis High. Coaches and other district employees are afraid to say anything in support of a coach for fear of losing their jobs. This is a blatant abuse of power.
Coaches are not tenured employees and each year must reapply on a form called a VSA. The principal and athletic director recommend coaches by submitting these applications to the board for approval. A coach can have an outstanding season and receive outstanding evaluations from the athletic director and principal, but can be fired by the board with no reason given. One example is the girls golf coach, who last year found out she’d been fired when the golf coach opening appeared on the job website.
The Davis High Athletic Handbook describes a process to complain about a coach through proper channels. Why was this process bypassed? Do board members whose children are on athletic teams get to play by different rules?
It is highly unethical, and a conflict of interest, for board members who have children on athletic teams to try to influence or manipulate a sports program. According to written district policy, the school board must “operate openly, with trust and integrity, treating everyone with civility and respect.” When a community member gets elected to the school board, she/he must put aside personal grudges. Board members should not try to get a coach fired because they have a personal vendetta against the coach.
A logical person would think board members who have children playing for the coach being voted on would recuse themselves rather than initiating the vote to fire that coach.
Julie Crawford is the boys and girls varsity volleyball coach at Davis High. This fall, she had an outstanding season and guided her team to the league championship and section playoffs. She was picked as the Delta Valley Coach of the Year for both the boys and girls programs.
She is a full-time teacher at Davis High, and has received strong evaluations from the administration during her seven years in the district. Her VSA was pulled to be voted on separately and two board members voted to remove her as coach. This behavior gives the appearance of an act of retribution and retaliation, and is highly detrimental to the career of this dedicated and talented coach. Can the Board of Education honestly say coach Crawford was treated with fairness and respect?
This form of harassment and bullying creates an intimidating work environment for all coaches, and it is obvious that the strategy being used is to discredit her and remove her as the girls coach in the fall.
Board members should rarely get involved with coaching issues but allow the full-time athletic director and principal to make these decisions without believing that the board will turn on them.
— Dave Whitmire is a retired Davis High School teacher who he coached the DHS football team for 37 years.