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Sunday, April 08, 2007

Gibbons Hire ignites controversy

Bedford City School District, is currently conducting a search for the Head Coaching position of the varsity football team. Current coach Paul Staats, who received mixed reviews from players and parents, will be replaced for the upcoming season.

The school board has summarily dismissed the application of a long time BHS educator and asst. coach, Mr. Everett Heard (Coach Heard) and are leaning towards former St. Ed football coach, John Gibbons. While qualified, Gibbons has no ties to the Bedford District.

Whereas Gibbons has no ties to the district, Coach Heard has been in our district in excess of 25 years as a gym teacher, coaches of several sports and was chosen
2006 "Coach of the Year" by the State of Ohio.

Coach Heard has been one of the few coach's who has brought home state titles and consistently produces successful teams. Coach Heard also has the support of three former Bedford players who are now in the NFL.

Some of the more involved parents found out that, once again & as usual, the Bedford School Board Members are trying to keep this decision making process from the public and have included no parent input. Note: This is typical behavior of our board when their agenda or selection may differ from community sentiment.

Personally, I am strongly against anyone being hired (or not hired) because of the color of their skin. I feel merit as an educator, positive interaction and the ability to be a role model to the children should be paramount in the decision making process for selecting anyone to be involved with children.

Because of being a racially changing district, more role models are needed for the African-American boys in our school. But let's not forget the white kids also – Mr. Heard is a role model for ALL students!

As a former student, I can attest Coach Heard brings all these qualities to the table and more... I cannot express my support enough for Mr. Heard. If not for this man, I would have been kicked out of school a lot more often and a lot sooner. That he would not be the hands down candidate is beyond belief.

In a failing district such as Bedford Schools, we cannot afford the duplicity being served by our school board. While they routinely preach parental involvement, the need of good role models, and the other
$2 quotes and excuses typical of educators, our district and students continue to falter.

With contract negotiations for teachers coming up, be ready for the hypocrisy - I can't wait to be told how
wonderful our teachers are so they can justify a raise to be paid for on our backs, yet they ignore parental input and pass over one of the best we have!

Let's hope many parents and leaders of this community will wake up and stop allowing the BHS board members to lead them like sheep to slaughter.

In usual Bedford School Board fashion, these covert proceedings will end with a "special meeting" today at 4:00pm.

The following is a letter from an involved parent - (edited for length)

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Via Electronic Mail

Bedford Board of Education Members
Debora J. Kozak, President
Barbara A. Patterson, Vice President (Via Facsimile)
Andrew C. M. Mizsak, M.A.P.
Tim Tench
Joseph V. Mestnik

Dear Elected School Board Members:

Surely, it can't be true that this Thursday, April 5, at 4:00 PM, during a "special" Bedford Board of Education meeting that you are prepared to vote on the next head football coach, at Bedford High School who will directly impact the educational opportunities and future of our beloved Bedford Bearcats; but even more disconcerting is that you allegedly are considering an individual whose experience with students of color is purportedly limited at best.

Why is this happening under the radar?

I was surprised to find out that Coach Staats is even leaving, as I have heard absolutely nothing but raving reviews on his coaching style and his ability to build the "self-esteem" of the current student body attending Bedford High School. And it is my understanding he works diligently at getting Bedford High School students into college for a free education.....

With that said, an individual who has an established track record of caring, student respect, and absolute knowledge of the game has applied for the head football coach position - Coach Everett Heard.

There are former Bedford graduates, both black and white who still speak his name with admiration throughout this community. (My husband, an avid sport enthusiast, thought highly of Coach Heard and would have been quite vocal about this head football coach position.) Why are we even considering anyone from the 'outside' when we have homegrown talent among our ranks?
(Note from King - Mr. Robinson, was a guidance counselor dearly loved and respected by staff & students. Mr. Robinson was taken from us last year when he suddenly passed away.)

I have done a preliminary investigation about the gentleman who you (elected school board members) are trying to allegedly "hand" the coaching job to at Bedford High School. Former fired football coach John Gibbons "appears" to have issues. The alleged incident that occurred last year in Lakewood while he was the head football coach at St. Edward High School cannot and should not be ignored.

Secondly, is there any truth to this gentleman allegedly being walked off the field or escorted out of the building by the police?

Thirdly, why would we bring someone into 'our' school district that allegedly has no real hands-on experience with students of color? This gentleman's experience in Streetsboro in the mid-1970s certainly didn't give him that experience, nor did it at Lake Catholic. And the St. Edward's football team isn't comprised of predominately people of color either. According to my sources, the young men of color on that team were walking on "egg shells."

My fourth point…the Bedford City Schools showcases (boasts) their partnership with the National Football League, namely Bedford High School graduates, Lee Evans, Eric Beverly, and Chris Chambers. It is my understanding that these NFL players all telephoned to support Coach Heard for the head football coach position. And their support (phone calls) was totally ignored.

Coach Heard has a proven track record with ALL students. He understands them; they respect him, and he has been part of the sports program for a number of years in this school district.

…it is my understanding that the Bedford High School football players signed a petition requesting Coach Heard as the head football coach. And this petition was totally ignored.

Why??? Don't student voices matter? Or is it just the voices of the students of color that don't matter?

Parent involvement does truly mean being equal partners in decisions that affect 'our' children. There are many educated parents in this school district; and therefore, should be asked to sit at the table for input, representing us, the parents of the children who attend Bedford High School.

We, parents, are not just votes for levies and your reelection to office. We are intelligent and quite capable of adding valuable insight with regard to decisions that affect our children.

This is another no-brainer decision. Place someone in the head football coach position who knows and respects the students and someone who the students know and respect. Doesn't Coach Heard deserve a chance? And if not, please explain why not.

What it really boils down to, in my opinion, is are we trying to do what is right for the students or are we still trying to perpetuate the status quo or maintain a certain 'image' for a different agenda?

The priority is the students and what they need to succeed. As a parent of a future football player at Bedford High School, I am concerned about this 'allegedly' pending predetermined selection.

Respectfully, a written response to my concerns is requested from all addressed parties.

Thank you,

Mrs. Michael Robinson (Venezuela)

*** Bedford School Board Member replies will be posted as they come in***
To contact the Bedford Board of Education call (440)439-1500

Jill said...

Wow - what a frustrating situation for the community! Thanks for blogging about this, with this level of specificity from a townsperson.

-but don't think I've forgotten your mystery post, person who calls himself King! :)

April 5, 2007 11:11 AM

Ben said...

maybe they are trying to hire the person they feel is the best football coach regardless of race

April 6, 2007 12:36 AM

King said...

Yes Jill it is frustrating! Our schools, being the gateway to the community are dragging us down.

Elected city officials from cities served by our district, refuse to publicly speak out about our failing schools.

In private many have voiced their dismay and disgust over the lack of improvement and excess of excuses.

The reason they keep quite is, they allow the schools to hold them hostage over tax abatements.

If the city officials speak out, then they will have a difficult time having the school approve any tax abatements.

Ben -

If this was a case of hiring the best candidate, I would be strongly supporting the schools. But it is not.

I would be just as upset if the schools were to hire a "black" coach just because of the color of his skin.

Coach Heard has been a successful teacher and coach (asst coach for football)in several sports and has won state championships.

*** I found out last night, the board hired former St. Ed's coach, John Gibbons, to be our new football coach.***

I have been told that in the typical Dog & Pony Show usually put on by Bedford School's, they paraded around some African-American kids with Gibbons before the hiring.

You can be sure, this is not over!

Jill the post you refer to was not a phantom post. I removed it because I learned it was inaccurate.


April 6, 2007 5:25 AM

King said...

oops, forgot to add this.

It should be noted, ALL our school board members are democrats. Two (2) are on the central committee for the Cuyahoga dems.

As this incident screams racism, please explain how the so called "Defenders of Civil Rights" democrats would do something like this?

Or is the speaking out on civil rights and equalty for African-Americans only an election ploy to continue fooling the blacks to vote for the dems?

It appears to be the latter!


April 6, 2007 5:32 AM

Anonymous said...

I have the utmost respect for Coach Heard. He is a dedicated educator, a fine coach, a wonderful role model and a fine representative of our community.

But, here's a thought...

...this isn't about color, it's about qualifications and availability.

Coach Heard was the 2005-2006 Ohio Division I coach of the year in BASKETBALL. Not football. Leaving that tidbit out of your discertation, omits a key piece of information, don't you think?

And, most high school sports "experts" would eagerly admit that it is extremely difficult, if not virtually impossible, to be a head coach in two varsity sports, when their seasons are back to back.

Which sport gets the short end of the coaching stick?

What happens if the football team makes the playoffs? How do you effectively start basketball practice?

How does the coach have those difficult discussions with players? You know the ones, the ones about not being good enough to get playing time in football, but being a star on the basketball team.

I think that puts a coach in a very difficult position.

I say be the head coach in one sport, and excel at it, which Coach Heard does with basketball.

This isn't about race from my perspective. To portray this as a race issue is wrong, and candidly, isn't fair to Coach Heard or Coach Gibbons.

You take exception to the board meeting. I wasn' there, but if your facts are correct, I say, if there are African American players who have a great deal of respect for Coach Gibbons, why not trot them out?

Especially, when there are letters being written that come right out and say that the man doesn't know how to deal with African American players....and worse.

Coach Heard has coached individuals to state championships in track. But, I don't believe his resume includes any team state championships. (A state runner up in basketball in 2000!) Again, we're being just a bit loose with the facts.

He is a great coach. But, head coach in two varsity sports, back to back? Where else is that happening at a school the size of Bedford?

WHy don't City Officials speak out about the schools? Is it their place to run the schools? NO!!

They need to focus on their respective communities - all four of which have issues at least as big as the schools, if not bigger.

It ain't about abatements. School, believe or not, win when they grant abatements, too! Something (income tax sharing) is better than nothing (a business locating in another ocmmunity.)

April 7, 2007 1:53 PM

Anonymous II said...

anonymous makes some good points, and from what I've seen Gibbons brings a wealth of experience to his new job.

The big issue to me is that rather than make this case to the public in an open manner, discussing this rationally with detractors, a special meeting is held at a time when those who work "normal business hours" cannot attend?? And the vote is rushed through?? BAD FORM! but typical of this school district.

I personally don't believe that race is the issue here. I do think that having too much on Coach Heard's plate is a consideration. (Did he offer to give up Basketball if given the football head coacing job? And is there a ready replacement for B-Ball?) But as usual the board puts forth an air of "We know better than" the little people who pay taxes and send there kinds to this district in a futile attempt to get a good education.

I personally have left the Bedford school district becasue I never felt my kids would get a quality education there. NOT BECAUSE OF RACE, but because of a LACK OF ORDER AND DISCIPLINE!

The Administration demands nothing from unruly students, when a teacher or administrator attempts to hold kids accountable they are undermined by the double-dipping superintendent and the photo-op loving school board.

BTW- has anyone ever tried to sit through an entire school board meeting?? The politically correct, feel good bullshit that bogs down school business drives you insane! Stretches out the meeting time to the WEE hours of the evening...let the crap occur at a school assembly, keep school board meetings for business. (And how about free speech? Let audience members speak from the floor without having questions & comments pre-screened by the School Board President.)

As far as city officials keeping out of school business. That's an old and stale argument! City officials are not think tank policy wonks, nor are they bureaucrats tied doen by procedure, they are our elected leaders--THEY HAVE EVERY RIGHT TO SPEAK OUT! The fact that most choose not to is because they are afraid to touch the divisive hot potato that the Bedford Schools have become.

The Schools need a culture change! And the sooner the better!

April 8, 2007 9:26 AM


Blogger King said...

An interesting note...

Marty Motsco and our curriculum director went to China to find out about having a Chinese class taught in our schools.

So far, we have been able to tell that a minimum of $1500 of school funds were spent for registration to the program.

Pretty good huh? We can't teach the kids proper english, yet they want to teach them Chinese.

A disgusting note...

Skool Bored member Joe Mestnick, must not be reelected! Give this guy some wood, hammer, nails, rope and pillow case w/ eye holes and he would be right at home!

His racist views and obnoxious demeanor, disrespect and vicious attacks on other board members, administrators and the public can no longer be tolerated.

His thinking that... the schools are good but the parents and children are bad, and that black children cannot learn at the same pace of white children is not an attitude conducive to improving our failing schools.

Correct me if I am wrong please...

I remember the "legacy" of Bedford Schools as being one of the reasons of not wanting to let Walton Hills leave our district.

I have always been of the belief that a school's "colors" identified this legacy.

So if this "legacy" is so important, can someone explain why our A.D., Paul Powers, changed the shade of green used in our school's colors?

After all these years, why would we suddenly change to a darker shade of green?

Is it because Powers had a pal who could give us a better price on this shade of green?

6:07 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

King, that last statement is insanely ridiculous. Did it not occur to you that the school has recently developed a brand new dress code, and the shade of green was possibly changed to better comply with it?

Regarding the original thread, I support Gibbons being hired. I've seen many a person been embarrassed by Heard, just to get a laugh out of the people surrounding the person in question. Gibbons, in my sole opinion, is just a nicer person overall. Not to mention that Heard is the BASKETBALL coach, and Gibbons has great credentials as a football coach, which is the position in question, correct?

I hope all of bedford An heroes[sic].

Tl;dr: i just love it when a white person get a position over a back counterpart, and EqualityFags run in, guns blazing. I can't wait for the elections...

9:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon here, forgot to add: Bedford fails for the explicit reason that it's courses were designed for people who cared about education, but most of the white people moved away now...

9:15 PM  

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