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BoE action gives players wrong lesson
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Editor, Today's edition reported that long-time Bradwell Institute teacher and basketball coach David Jones was removed Tuesday night as basketball coach by the Liberty County BOE - and worse, while he was in Savannah, coaching the school's team in a game against Savannah High.
If the facts are as they were outlined in your story, I am very disappointed - in the BOE. As Coach Jones is quoted, in another context, "Sometimes you make a decision on the spot, at the spur of the moment, that in retrospect wasn't the best decision." That seems to me to accurately describe what the BOE did to Coach Jones, and those kids.
Coach Jones states that he has had repeated problems with some members of his team being tardy, so that when they were not where they were supposed to be, to be transported to a tournament game in Atlanta recently, he and the rest of the team, who did show up on time, went on without them. He said that he hoped that by temporarily leaving them behind, they'd be taught a valuable lesson about punctuality and personal responsibility, and that he intended to go back and get them a few minutes later, which he did, only to find they'd found a ride on their own.
That sounds to me to be exactly what those players needed and deserved. Why was the BOE in such a rush to remove him as coach? Why was the coach not present at the meeting when this decision of his was discussed, and given an opportunity to present his side of the story? Why was the BOE not willing to back up their coach on this issue? It's not as if this was a rookie teacher who left these kids behind through negligence or plain lack of thought.
This man should be applauded, in my view, not removed as coach. We need more people like him as coaches in our schools, not fewer. If you don't teach young people that it is important to follow rules and instructions when they are in school, when are they going to learn? If they are repeatedly late for work after they graduate and get jobs, who is going to fired for tardiness - their supervisor? I don't think so.
Those kids let down their teammates, their coach, and any fans who may have driven all the way to Atlanta to watch them play, by failing to act responsibly and be punctual. If they couldn't get to the game on time because they were being lazy and irresponsible, they had no business playing at all, or being given the privilege of being taken to a game out of town, at some expense. They are the ones who should be disciplined, not the coach. What is the BOE doing about them?
The problem with too many people today is that they do not realize the importance of personal responsibility, in all walks of life. I am deeply disappointed that the interim superintendent, Harley Grove, recommended this course of action, and that the BOE members who voted to remove Mr. Jones as coach did so. They have all done those kids a great disservice, and Mr. Jones and our community as well. They had a wonderful opportunity to teach a reality lesson to those kids, and they simply blew it.

Raphael Semmes
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