By Yrenly Yuan and Zach Hertz,
UPDATE: On Feb. 14, Principal Will Brown announced via Facebook, “Coach Ron Duer and Coach Jordan Friend have accepted the position as Co-Interim-Coaches. Previously these two have served as assistants in the volleyball program. They hope to continue building on the recent success the program has experienced. Superintendent Roberson has granted permission for our coaches to begin practices immediately.”
It’s not a common occurrence for students to be involved in school district meetings or for them to wake up early in the morning to protest for such a cause.
However the Davis High men’s and women’s volleyball teams came together to do just that on Feb. 13, at the Davis Board of Education meeting. The meeting was held in response to a parent complaint regarding the sudden announcement that teacher and volleyball coach Julie Crawford would not be invited back to coach the DHS men’s volleyball team for the 2014 season.
Volleyball team members rallied in favor of Crawford and responded to the news by appearing at the board meeting early in the morning, with signs saying “Kids 4 Julie” and “We want Julie.”
Parents and volleyball team members then filed into meeting room. At the commencement of the meeting, board member Nancy Peterson recused herself from panel, citing personal conflict as the reason. Sheila Allen, Gina Daleiden, Susan Lovenburg and Tim Taylor remained to hear from the crowd.
Various parents and volleyball team members spoke at the meeting. In support of his coach, junior Evan Meerscheidt voiced his opinion on the issue.
“Our first game is in 11 days and we have no coach and no direction for this team. Julie Crawford is the most qualified coach and the only one with experience who has applied for this job,” Meerscheidt said.
A parent, Olga Simmons, agreed, saying that, “board members should do not what is best for one child, but for the majority. And the majority obviously wants Julie. I don’t know what has to be done, but this has to stop.”
The board then deliberated for nearly three hours. Eventually, they announced that Allen, Daleiden, Lovenburg and Taylor had all voted in favor of hearing the appeal.
Daleiden called the issue “very complicated” and expressed hope that the two parties could come to an agreement. The Board has stated that its goal is to find a “reasonable resolution that is in the best interests of the students and the school district.”
Despite the vote to hear the appeal, the men’s volleyball team still lacks a coach. Superintendent Winfred Roberson stressed that, “Looking for an interim coach is one of our priorities.”
Another meeting will be called to hear Crawford’s appeal. The date for the appeal has not been picked, but is scheduled to be held before March 6. It will either be in another special meeting or in a regular Board meeting.