|North Baltimore suspends wrestling coach|
|Written by By JENISE FOUTS/Sentinel-Tribune Staff Writer|
|Wednesday, 29 July 2009 08:55|
NORTH BALTIMORE — North Baltimore High School wrestlers will no longer be coached by John DuVall, following action taken by the school board Tuesday night.
About 25 people attended the meeting in support of DuVall, 38, who is the husband of school board member Holly Gray-DuVall. He has criminal charges pending against him, resulting from alleged threats made during a domestic disturbance, as detailed in a police report.
DuVall has been employed by the board, through a supplemental contract, as the head high school wrestling coach for the past three years. He also spent many years with Team Excel and the Biddy program, coaching children ages 3 through 15 interested in wrestling. About 20 of the guests were teens whom DuVall identified as being “the boys I brought up” in the wresting programs.
The board held two separate executive sessions Tuesday night to discuss personnel, each lasting about 45 minutes. Afterwards, with Holly Gray-DuVall abstaining, board members unanimously approved a resolution to “initiate proceedings to consider the termination of the contract of employment of John DuVall with the board of education and to suspend said contract effective at 12:01 a.m. on July 29, 2009, without pay or benefits, pending the outcome of termination proceedings.”
After the meeting Superintendent Kyle Clark presented a nine-page official statement by the board about the resolution. It noted that on July 8, during the course of a domestic dispute, DuVall “used his position as the high school wrestling coach” to harass and threaten two students in the district. His conduct resulted in criminal charges being filed against him in Bowling Green Municipal Court, for “inducing panic” and “menacing.”
The statement noted that three of the board’s policies “specifically provide that all employees shall serve as role models and ensure the safety of district students at all times.” It explained DuVall’s behavior “gives the appearance that he was trying to take improper advantage of his position as the ... wrestling coach,” and that “to engage in such acts of harassment and threats cannot be countenanced by the Board of Education.”
During the meeting’s time for public comment, three people addressed the board.
Freshman Sam Kaufman, 14, gave a brief but emotional testimony to DuVall’s character as his wrestling coach. “I don’t know what I’d do if he weren’t my coach,” said the teen. He told how he broke his arm his first year wrestling, and DuVall “sat with me and told me how I’d become a better wrestler.”
“From the first time you meet him he stands out,” said junior Justin Spencer. “He’s more than a coach. ... He’s willing to give you the shirt off his back to help you achieve what you want to achieve.” He said DuVall trains his wrestlers to give 110 percent and then, when they’re done, to thank the people who’ve helped them. Spencer added DuVall was a mentor and his confidant.
Shelley Hillard, who intends to run for the school board, read a short statement in support of DuVall, urging the board “to keep the positive leadership that our young citizens deserve” and asking for two board members to resign “for the good” of the district. Prior to the public reading of her statement, while the board was in its first executive session, Hillard identified to the press the two board members she wants to resign as Holly Gray-DuVall and President Jake Trevino.
|Last Updated on Wednesday, 29 July 2009 08:57|
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