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January 11. 2014 12:46AM

Sorry, can't discuss: Londonderry's turn in the star chamber

To the citizens of Londonderry upset by the unexplained dismissal of popular high school football head coach Jon Rich, we paraphrase the advice of Shakespeare concerning lawyers: First, throw out the school board.

Board members, whether cowed by Superintendent Nathan Greenberg into saying nothing or doing so of their own accord, clearly don't want Rich back and clearly don't want to explain their reasons why. Instead, they hide behind "privacy'' and "personnel issues."

Board Chairman Nancy Hendricks even tried to use the "it's personal" argument to stifle the public at a recent board meeting. Perhaps in the interest of self-preservation, she relented, allowing angry citizens to come to the microphone and voice their own opinions. How nice of her.

But neither she nor Superintendent Greenberg nor any other board members would explain why Rich's one-year contract to coach wasn't renewed, as it has been before.

He will remain a health and physical education teacher, however.

We hold no brief for or against Coach Rich. We don't know the man. But it is unfortunate, and unfair to the people of Londonderry and to those in other communities where this happens, that public servants can remove people from such highly visible positions without explanation.

As highly regarded former head coach Tom Sawyer noted, he had seen several occasions where interference of "some people who have the ability to get involved has resulted in decisions being made."

"Let's not let this happen again," Sawyer told the board.

A board member noted that Coach Rich has not appealed his dismissal, so that's that.

Perhaps Rich doesn't have the stomach to pursue the matter. Clearly the board and Supt. Greenberg have their minds made up.

But what if Rich were to waive any privacy right as it relates to the reasons for his non-renewal? Then what excuse would the school board and Greenberg have for refusing to explain their action?


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