Wednesday, April 23, 2014

School board allows coach to appeal


Current and former Davis High School students rally in support of former volleyball coach Julie Crawford outside the Davis school district offices Thursday morning. Sue Cockrell/Enterprise photo

From page A1 | February 13, 2014 | 31 Comments

The Davis school board voted this morning — after meeting for nearly three hours in closed session — to grant an appeal to volleyball coach Julie Crawford, whose coaching contract was not renewed following an investigation into a parental complaint.

For more on the complaint, see today’s story on Page B1.

Reading from a carefully worded statement, school board president Gina Daleiden announced that the decision was made on a 4-0 vote, with Nancy Peterson “absent because she recused herself from public comment, closed session and voting on this matter.”

Daleiden added that the district is continuing its efforts to hire an interim coach for boys volleyball as soon as possible. Team tryouts were scheduled to begin Monday, but have been canceled until further notice. The team is due to begin its season on Feb. 28.

“In the meantime, the board encourages the parties to come together to find a reasonable resolution that is in the best interest of the students and the school district,” Daleiden said.

She added that the board hopes to set a hearing on the appeal on or before the regularly scheduled March 6 school board meeting.

Thursday’s 7 a.m. board meeting began with Peterson recusing herself, noting that “a family member is involved in this specific matter.”

However, her husband Rob did speak, saying that while Nancy (as a trustee) is “restrained by confidentiality” and “unable to respond,” he is not. He said “the debate over the variable services agreement for Julie Crawford has been one-sided from the beginning. The coach is allowed to feign innocence and claim that she has no idea why these actions have been taken. The administration and the school board have been allowed to shirk their responsibilities hiding behind the phrases ‘confidential’ and ‘personnel matter.’ ”

He also spoke of “one-sided media accounts of this story. My wife cannot respond, my opinion was never requested. … This board can now choose to take the action it should have (taken) in February 2013, or you can once again attempt to make it go away.”

The trustees also heard comment from several speakers who urged them to retain Crawford as coach. Tom Cross, who was a Davis High student in the 1980s, said “you can’t just terminate someone’s contract over a personal issue.”

Current student Evelyn Brady described Crawford as “the best coach I ever had.” Student Maya Gilardi said “the complaint came from one parent. … Many others support Julie.” Volleyball player Evan Meerscheidt faulted the timing of the discussion, saying “We found out Saturday that Julie would not be our coach; our season is supposed to start next Monday.”

Parent Olga Simons said, “It is very frustrating for us as parents, we have had no tryouts, and the season is going to start. It is extremely unprofessional on the school board’s part, absolutely unacceptable. The majority wants Julie to be the coach, and start (the season) on time.

“This is the second season it has started late. Everyone in the volleyball community (at other schools) is laughing at us. This has to stop.”


Discussion | 31 comments

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  • Nicklaus K.February 13, 2014 - 11:09 am

    I don't know any of the people involved in this saga at all, nor do I or have I had a kid in high school. I hear rumors of coaches punishing the kids of parents who meddle or who they don't like, but this is the first real evidence I've seen of it. I don't know if the Petersons are butt-pains or tried to get the coach canned because they don't like her or for some other reason. If that's the case it's pathetic. However, regardless of the actions of the parents I cannot fathom how a grown adult coach takes revenge by cutting a kid and making a teen player suffer. Ridiculous. I don't care how good of a coach or person she is, she should be gone for this alone. If the parents are major meddlers and tried to get her fired because they don't like her style or her personally or whatever, then Peterson should be removed from her position as well. Above all though, BE ADULTS! Don't take it out on the teen player. The whole thing is sad. Grow up, people. Stop inserting the kids - the players who don't have a coach just before the season starts, and the kid cut who has been on varsity since a freshman - into your petty politics!

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  • cameronFebruary 15, 2014 - 9:07 am

    Kevin Keefer did this to several people I know, and now is running the Davis Baseball Academy. As you can see the problem is more deep-rooted than Davis High School. This is happening at all levels. Small town politics in full effect.

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  • DHS alumFebruary 15, 2014 - 7:31 pm

    I'm shocked to read this statement, Cameron. How inappropriate it is to insert someone into this comment thread who is completely irrelevant to the topic at hand. Your statement reeks of pettiness, and frankly, because you are speaking on behalf of "people you know," is downright slanderous. Shame on you.

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  • Courtenay Tessler, Head Counselor, DSHSFebruary 13, 2014 - 12:04 pm

    Please refrain from writing personal comments about our students. This is an adult issue. Our students should have a right to privacy while they are DSHS students. Thank you for showing sensitivity.

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  • Richard EstesFebruary 13, 2014 - 1:57 pm

    yes, please desist from writing personal comments unless they are favorable to the Peterson family

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  • anonFebruary 13, 2014 - 6:42 pm

    While it is unfortunate that this girl's stats and attitude are being discussed openly like this, it is absolutely relevant to the issue at hand. That's something that the girl's parents should have considered when they decided to continue down this path.

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  • Debbie RamosFebruary 13, 2014 - 9:11 pm

    Thank you, Mrs. Tessler. Well said.

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  • Carson WFebruary 13, 2014 - 12:38 pm

    "regardless of the actions of the parents I cannot fathom how a grown adult coach takes revenge by cutting a kid and making a teen player suffer." ridiculous... Parents are an integral part of any youth sports team, and removing a player due to their parents becoming vindictive and disruptive is absolutely in the purview of every youth sports coach. When a family becomes an issue in a youth sports team, is the coach to allow that issue to impact every other youth, and THEIR family on that team? No. If coach crawford didnt want to coach the youth in ? any more, and thought the team is better off without her, that is her right.

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  • Nicklaus K.February 13, 2014 - 1:19 pm

    That sounds logical and sound. If a parent or parents are causing problems for an entire team then the coach should have the right to keep the kid off the team, but the coach should go through the school and his/her supervisors to ensure they are transparent about it so it doesn't smack of petty vindinctiveness. Like I said, I don't know the full story or people involved. Maybe the coach tried this route. If the parents were meddling too much then the coach should get the administration involved and let them tell the parents to stop or their kid is off the squad.

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  • NielFebruary 13, 2014 - 1:24 pm

    i've been a teacher, coach, and parent on the HS level for many, many years. i can tell you that this drama with coach crawford and the vindictive parents of a cut player is an embarrassment to the whole davis community. the student/athletes are the ones being hurt(not to mention the libelous actions directed towards coach crawford)- the misguided actions of school board member peterson and her husband are appalling- since when do parents get to decide who makes a team? like i said, the HS administrators, district officials, and the petersons are making a laughing stock out of the city of davis. i guarantee you, the daughter who was cut feels shame and embarrassment because of the actions of her parents- just WHO are the adults here? the inmates are running the asylum. disgusting! unfortunately, so often, parents can be a hemorrhoid in your backside of a coach. keep your head up coach C- you're doing an outstanding job. your professionalism and class makes DHS proud.

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  • MLFebruary 13, 2014 - 2:14 pm

    What is Rob Peterson's specific complaint? I'll I've heard is his child didn't make the team. As far as the Appeal, why not speed up that process? I thought it was innocent until proven guilty. From every article I have read, it is one couple that are complaining. The students on two different teams seem to respect and admire their coach.

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  • MLFebruary 13, 2014 - 2:26 pm

    There is a website that lists volleyball player statistics. The player in question did not play varsity as a Freshman. Also, when you look at all the statistical breakdowns, she has the lowest or near-lowest score in every category. On top of that, she has the lowest ratio in almost every category. If this player is that talented, then maybe proof can be given from an AAU team or summer team where Coach Crawford is not involved. I can't understand what is happening, unless a lawyer / investigator hired by the Peterson's spooked DJUSD.

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  • kellyFebruary 13, 2014 - 2:39 pm

    I don't think it's appropriate to discuss an individual student's stats, and especially to use them as proof that she shouldn't be on the team. Think how humiliating this could be to the student involved! This has nothing to do with how I feel about what should or shouldn't have happened....let's just keep discussion of individual kids out of the public eye.

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  • February 13, 2014 - 3:01 pm

    Well said. I think this issue really has very little to do with any child, but is adult driven politics. What concerns me is that Nancy chose to recuse herself now but was in all of the prior votes and discussions...does not add up, must be hot in the kitchen. The other REALLY big concern I have is that rob Peterson was given confidential personnel information as well as the fact that he freely admits he continued to pressure the superintendent until he receive the answer he wanted....julies job. Doesn't this sound a bit like bullying and harassment? These concerns go to support the claim that the Peterson family has inappropriately used Nancy position of influence for personal agenda. Lets see how this plays out and who will be blamed and scapegoated for this event. I also would like to ask the other board members who have voted in opposition of Nancy Peterson 3 times now.....are u still scared of her like everyone else seems to be? You clearly don't agree with her views so why do we have to go through this madness multiple times? The damage is done how are you as a board going to make this right for our students?

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  • Nicklaus K.February 13, 2014 - 5:01 pm

    Agreed. Come on ML. I respect your input, but don't go there.

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  • MLFebruary 13, 2014 - 5:18 pm

    A coach's career may be halted, yet the power's that be can't be pointed to the objective facts? Just look at the facts, that's all. And where does this SuperInt. work, in Davis?

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  • Richard EstesFebruary 14, 2014 - 9:32 am

    "I don't think it's appropriate to discuss an individual student's stats, and especially to use them as proof that she shouldn't be on the team. Think how humiliating this could be to the student involved!" Why not? The Peterson family has opened the door to this by claiming that Crawford vindictively removed their daughter from the volleyball team. So, it is entirely appropriate for people to look into the matter and determine if there is a reaonable, alternative explanation for what happened. A lot of other students and parents involved with the volleyball teams are being affected by this. If anyone is to be blame for such "humiliation", it is Rob and Nancy Peterson. Or, is the rule, as I said earlier, respect the privacy of the students unless it can be exploited for the benefit of the Peterson family?

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  • kellyFebruary 14, 2014 - 11:50 am

    We simply treat individual information about minors differently. The Enterprise, for example, would never criticize and name a DHS football player for a bad play...where it would be appropriate for a college game. A kid is involved here and her stats should not be a part of the discussion. I think it's enough to just say "It's the coach's job to evaluate try-outs, and there's no indication her decision was incorrect." And, yes, I agree that parents should think about the effect on their kids before going public with an issue. But that doesn't stop me from feeling both empathy and responsibility for the children involved.

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  • BlueDevil99February 14, 2014 - 2:55 pm

    FWIW, Yahoo has an article on this hot subject, and their review shows that 4 underclassmen at DHS who made the team last year, aren't on this year's team. Very interesting that no one else has mentioned this.

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  • Mike TraskFebruary 13, 2014 - 3:40 pm

    I can't believe they don't have a coach for the boy's volleyball team in place and that practices were actually cancelled. For the life of me I don't know why they didn't just have the girls volleyball coach they just hired this season run practice this week. I heard she was pretty good.

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  • DHS Parent AlumniFebruary 13, 2014 - 3:48 pm

    I do not have any children at DHS, nor do I have any interest in the volleyball team. However, I do know Julie Crawford. I can tell you she is not a vindictive person and she did not cut a player to retaliate against Ms. Peterson. She made her decision based on creating the best team to be the most competitive on the court. I am very interested in why it took until the season started, for the boys team, to learn of her firing. The player was cut in September of 2013, which was 5 months ago. I am also curious why the player involved in this situation tried out for the Volleyball team in the first place. To quote Ms. Peterson from the Davis Enterprise July 17, 2013 issue, Peterson cited a passage from the school district’s handbook for coaches regarding “integrity,” and added, “My vote reflects nothing more than my continued pursuit of ideals centered on children. I cannot in good conscience vote to approve Ms. Crawford as a coach for young adults”. If the parents did not want her to coach, why would they allow their child to tryout in the first place? It had to be a very stressful situation for their child. Why would any parent put their child in that situation? There are 26 sports at Davis High School, so why not consider a different sport or play club Volleyball. If I thought a coach should not be coaching and did not have "integrity", I would never subject my child to be coached by that individual. To me, that was the parents way of harassing Ms. Crawford. I also know when it came to picking the team, Ms. Crawford had a panel rate the players before the team was selected, she was not the only one that made the final roster decision. I agree that a child should never be retaliated against, and if I thought for one second that is what happened I would not be supportive. I think the Peterson's need to honestly look at the way they handled the whole situation and seek some counseling on how to parent. I would give my name but I concerned I’d be bullied!

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  • Volleyball parentFebruary 13, 2014 - 4:38 pm

    I am 100% agree with DHS Parent Alumni. If Coach is so bad, why are you trying to put your children in the program that she runs?

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  • OLD DHS ParentFebruary 14, 2014 - 1:53 pm

    Where is the Athletic Director, Principal and the Superintendant in this mess and why is the School Board involved especially when a complaint is being filed by someone who is on the board. This should have been kept in house and resolved without a media circus. We don't elect people into positions to play politics with our children. Good luck getting reelected after this retaliatory debacle.

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  • DHS Alum embarrased as heckFebruary 13, 2014 - 4:55 pm

    Hey, we are talking about volleyball. Take it easy, folks. I bet the kids at the high school caught up in this can't wait to graduate and leave behind all of this drama. They'll be off living their lives and we will be left here in this little town stewing. Think about it.

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  • Not so New DavisiteFebruary 13, 2014 - 9:57 pm

    Congrats to the Petersons. I wonder if the union will be bright enough to at least ask why the Superintendent told Dr. Peterson about the personel action that he wasn't supposed to know about.

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  • February 14, 2014 - 3:43 pm

    According to the original article the coach was told on Feb. 5th. According to another article, it states that Dr. Peterson was told on the 7th. I would think it very reasonable to inquire about the status of a complaint

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  • Grant AcostaFebruary 14, 2014 - 6:22 pm

    In the other article related to this story, it says that a private investigator hired by the Peterson's concluded that it was "more likely than not" that Ms. Crawford cut the Petersons' daughter in retaliation for the Petersons' initial attempt to fire her. I'm curious if anyone else is bothered by this standard of proof. Imagine the court system if instead of having to prove someone's guilt "beyond a reasonable doubt," we simply had to prove it was "more likely than not" that the person committed the crime. Heck, lately the weather forecast has listed the chances of rain as 60%, certainly "more likely than not,", but as we've seen, it often results in "not!"

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  • DHS VB Alumni - Some Perspective On VB in Davis!February 14, 2014 - 8:25 pm

    As an ex-DHS and Davis Club Volleyball player I feel very comfortable speaking on the matter of coaches; particularly the power-hungry ladies the Davis High School Volleyball team seems to attract. What many people don't realize is that HS VB is not that competitive; the more competitive league was Club. You played for 6 months of the year and trained with a traveling team every week, usually with 1-2 tournaments per month, sometimes more. Tournament play is hardcore with 2-3 days of consistent games, plus each game is up to 3 matches. Playing for DHS VB was fun filler for the time between Club seasons. We should definitely be encouraging students of all skill levels to try out and possibly play for any High School team without fear of being overly criticized because they're less experienced, or for having lower scores than other players. OBVIOUSLY every player is at a different skill level but with proper encouragement and coaching a determined player CAN certainly improve greatly. I've seen this occur with my own eyes! I did not have the opportunity to experience playing with Ms. Crawford when she was a coach for the girls' freshman team (which I preferred honestly), I was lucky enough to get picked for JV as a frosh and I had an amazing coach who was super awesome, and even though we lost sometimes it was great. Wouldn't trade the fun for winning games any day! Unfortunately Ms. Julie Crawford as well as the previous Varsity coach, the lovely Leigh, both seemed more focused on winning the game when it should’ve been about the players. Besides, why would you want to teach teenagers that they CAN win every time? ;) As a disclaimer, I do not know if Julie was to the same extreme at all or if she's changed in the years since I've graduated, but it truly sounds like the majority of players love her. I would like to say though that favoritism is also a curse on the girls' volleyball teams (the reason I chose not to try out and play for Varsity). To spend an entire season on the bench, basically considered a part of the team only during practice; why would you submit a student to that sort of scrutiny? Especially if there’s an alternative motive behind the action like getting back at parents (real mature) by taking it out on the player. The Davis community has the “cut-throat” parents who want anyone inferior out of the way because their child is the star, and on the other end of the spectrum we also have the “squishy” parents who think that every child should win the medal even if they lose. As a coach you should be able to find that balance somewhere between patience for those still learning, and those who need a little push; it’s important to remember both are important, especially when you’re a direct influence on young minds. Being a coach is a privilege and should be treated as such with any sport, even though I’m sure it’s not fun at times; dealing with cranky parents, unfocused players and refs who make bad calls. I do believe Ms. Crawford probably should have jumped through a hoop or two to make the Peterson girls’ cut more “official” and transparent to those who might question her, especially if they have a history already. For someone who has coached in this community for a number of years you would think she would know who she’s up against; and unfortunately that’s the way it is in Davis! Love this town, but goodness there are a lot of high maintenance folks out there.

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  • February 14, 2014 - 11:18 pm

    Thank you for your perspective. You're a good writer. BTW, I think Julie did "jump through a big hoop" by having a committee evaluate potential players. I also think Coach Crawford, or The Enterprise, or both, should ascertain who funded the lawyer / investigator for their supposedly unbiased report. You can catch a lot of fish at $300-500 per hour. A Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) is pretty easy to file, though there might be a few hoops to jump through. If the school district paid for the lawyer, there should be some information worth sharing.

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  • Bob SimonsFebruary 15, 2014 - 1:17 pm

    In reference to the VP Alumni who stated several things about the role of a sports program at a school: 1. At the frosh and JV levels, the goal of the program is normally to teach those skills to players who will advance to the Varsity level. 2. The role of a sports program at the Varsity level is to be as competitive as possible with the goal of winning the league, section, or state. For a program that hasn't won or experienced this success, the goal is to develop the program to the level that will meet these goals. 3. In many cases, more students go out for a team than a program can handle. Keeping more players reduces the playing time for all team members and reduces the likelihood that the team will establish itself as a winning program. Because of this, there is a need to establish a number who can be effective on the roster and keep the best possible choices. Students who don't produce but have played before do not have an automatic place on a team because of their history on that team. 4. Parents who make demands on coaches to keep their kids on the roster or to give the kids more playing team create a major problem for that coach and the program. In many cases, they alienate their own child from others and create socialization problems for that child at school. 5. Parents in positions of influence or power should have the same rights as all parents but not more rights. When a board member as a complaint, they should file the complaint as any other parent and bow out of any further decision making. When the spouse of that board member, who is privy to confidential information regarding the case, is given an opportunity to become involved, they should be treated as "people of influence" rather than other parents and their abilities to determine the decision should be no greater than any other parent. Having retired after 30 years of teaching and coaching, I believe in what I have stated here. Ask any athletic director the goal of their Varsity program in any sport. I would guess in each case, their goal would be to establish and maintain a winning and effective program.

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  • February 14, 2014 - 9:09 pm

    Interesting comment, DHS VP Alumni. Thank you for sharing it. Hmm… so the Club team is really where the action is for the better players. But since we're talking about (and funding) the public school system here, maybe (like the popular Davis Nutcracker) there should be a lottery to get onto the team instead of tryouts based on skill and experience. The Club kids play 6 mo of the year, but there are plenty of kids who are introduced to VB in PE and would benefit by being part of the HS team. Isn't it better to be inclusive ? We could change lives by being so.

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