'Board gone wild'One of my pet peeves is when people who are the subject of media scrunity refuse to talk to the press and then subsequently whine about 'biased' coverage.
Take an article a piece in yesterday's Glens Falls Post-Star on the chaos in the South Glens Falls (SGF) school district's athletic department.
Last year, a school board member forced out boys' varsity soccer coach Paul Snyder. Snyder was well-liked by his players and well-respected by the parents and within the local soccer community in general. He had started to clean up a program that was notorious for dirty tactics at all levels. The SGF parents remained obnoxious but at least the players were cleaning up their act a little. I've coached against Snyder in a few non-scholastic competitions and he's one of those coaches that just exudes class.
He was essentially fired and without explanation. He was replaced by his predecessor. The board replaced a well-respected coach with a guy who'd presided over the out-of-control program that Snyder cleaned up. A guy who was closely aligned to the board's most controversial member.
I know the board member in question. He is a goon and a bully. He tried to pick a fight with me, my friend and my friend's wife once over a relatively obscure issue. He was banned from local youth soccer because he grabbed a player by the collar and threw him against a wall. This is the man who SGF voters saw fit to elect to a school board (a travesty in which the disgrace beat a very honorable and respectable opponent who has a long history of working with young people without physically assaulting them). I suppose the voters deserve what they get. But do the kids?
This year, having already trashed the boys' soccer program, the board decided to ruin the GIRLS' soccer program. They forced out its coach Peter Wirfel, who was also well-liked by his players and well-respected by the parents and within the local soccer community. I know Peter and he's a good guy. He ran a solid, competitive program at SGF. His teams were disciplined and well-behaved, which can't be said for all the school's athletic teams. Maybe decency is a badge of shame in SGF athletics.
But the afforementioned board member had a grudge against Wirfel. When the board member in question was banned from local youth soccer, Wirfel was the president of the club in question.
The board member was widely seen as being behind Wirfel's ouster. One local women's coach emailed the board member in question encouraging him to re-appoint Wirfel. In an email of which I have obtained a copy, the board member apparently responded that Wirfel engaged in actions which "continue to put our children's safety and the district in potential jeopardy."
Reading a man banned from youth soccer for assaulting a teenager pontificating about 'our children's safety' made me want to vomit.
The email also betrays some of the board member's vendetta against Wirfel.
"It doesn't matter what the rules are, he continues to do what he wants."
... while only making reference to a single minor incident that could surely be easily fixed with a warning.
"How can one person that knows the policies, since he was a past BOE [board of education] Member and has not turned in his policy manual..."
... without explaining how Wirfel's alleged failure to turn in policy manual has the least bit to do with the issue of him coaching the girls' varsity soccer team.
One critic of the mess described the process as 'Board gone wild.'
Anyways, back to the whining part.
The board member in question lectured the letter writer, "Sometimes not having all of the facts can be extremely misleading and enter into something blindly. There are always two sides to every story."
However, the board member in question refused to explain either to the letter writer, to the media or at the board meeting what all the facts were.
The Post-Star reported that another board member, Jacqueline Bashant, opened a recent meeting by alleging that some board members are blackmailing the superintendent and "bullying" others. She said she would seek legal counsel as early as today [Feb. 21] to prove these claims.
Current board president Virginia Philo, after the meeting, declined to answer questions surrounding Bashant's allegations and her son's appointment, citing personnel issues and saying The Post-Star "is only interested in one side of the story."
How hypocritical can she be? She refuses to comment to the newspaper and then whines like a snivelling little child that the paper won't print her side of the story. Yes Virginia, there really is a newspaper. But it can't print your side of the story IF YOU REFUSE TO GIVE IT TO THEM!
Oh by the way, Philo's son originally applied for the position along with Wirfel. At this week's meeting, after Wirfel resigned in rightful disgust, the board made a motion to appoint Philo's son.
Must be nice to have friends (or moms) in high places. It's just too bad hard-working decent coaches have to be sacrificed in the process.