Letters to the Editor | Opinion | The Press and Standard
by The Press and Standard | March 26, 2017 5:00 pm
Last Updated: March 23, 2017 at 8:10 am
One person doesn’t speak for all CCHS
In response to a letter to the editor in the March 6 edition, we would like to make it expressly clear that one person does not speak for every parent in the Colleton County High School Soccer Program.
In fact, many of us are pleased with the direction of the soccer program and have no issue with the head soccer coach or his current policies.
The current soccer coach has worked hard to recruit kids to participate in the sport. Some student-athletes would not be able to participate in the sport if the after-school game day policy was not in effect. Indeed, there are many students who would not be able to get back to school if they took the bus home, due to having parents who work or an overall lack of transportation. Many students are dependent on school transportation — and that is a critical fact that was overlooked in the previous letter.
In addition, the current soccer coach has added to the coaching staff, bringing in more knowledge and experience to the program. This willingness to foster improvement within the program is commendable. Also, the coach has reached out to the Walterboro Soccer Club for additional support and has endeavored to engage the boys in the off-season.
Since he took over the helm of the CCHS soccer program, this coach has built a relationship of mutual respect among the team. He encourages the players to participate in other sports at CCHS to create a well-rounded athlete. Under his direction, last year’s team broke a 55-game losing streak with two wins in the season.
We are hopeful that this season will continue to see improvements on the field, as well as off the field, under his leadership. We would like to wish him much success and luck in his future position!
The Downey, Pryor, and Thomas families
CCHS needs to find new coaches
While a parent of children enrolled in the Colleton County School district and a CCHS coach in 2012, I overheard the varsity football coach tell the other assistant coaches present that he didn’t understand why he had to attend the athletic director’s coaches meeting. What was she going to tell him that he didn’t already know?
The CCHS field house is located between the football field and the practice field. The former varsity football coach claimed the field house for himself. In 2012 none of the boys or girls’ soccer coaches had keys to the building and they all shared a closet as a workspace. One day when I was locked out of the building, a bus driver opened the door using a key on his personal key ring.
Arriving early each day for soccer practice, I waited on the middle school students who arrived before the dismissal of CCHS. For a couple of days, I couldn’t understand how the locker room the boys used was being locked between the time I arrived and checked the door and the time the middle school students arrived to use the locker. On the third day I waited down the hallway to see who was locking the door. The varsity football coach (future athletic director) emerged from his office next to the locker room and with key in hand was about to lock the door until he saw me. He had been locking the door — a practice he continued until he was suspended.
In 2012 I reported an assistant football coach living in the field house. This coach was driving an unregistered (expired license plate) car that was parked out of sight behind the field house. The former CCHS principal announced an inspection of the school grounds that was conducted about 10 days later. By that time, the assistant coach had moved. The school resource officer was less sympathetic and had the coach’s car removed immediately.
On March 2, 2017 the boys’ varsity soccer coach explained his reasons for detaining soccer players after school in an email accepted by the school superintendent. One of the reasons given was “Camaraderie through games, movies, etc.” Watching “movies” included using the CCHS internet service to access material unsuitable for the ages of the students. Using the smartboard located in the small conference room in the field house as an unrated movie platform, the coach left the students unsupervised while he did something else.
A second reason the boys’ varsity soccer coach gave for detaining soccer players was access to the CCHS athletic trainer. A person has to pass the weight room and the football coach’s office to get to the athletic trainer’s office located at the end of the hallway. During the afternoon of March 7, a female teacher and coach entered the field house through the main entrance. She was confronted by the boys’ varsity soccer coach/assistant football coach and told to leave the field house. On the same day, the soccer coach left the team unsupervised again and an incident occurred that is currently being investigated by the sheriff’s department.
When the former head football coach was promoted to AD, he never moved into the AD office located in the main building of CCHS. Until he was fired, he continued to use the office in the field house, forcing students and staff in the main building to walk to the field house to speak to him. The former AD, who is still a school employee, may still be using this office after school. The varsity soccer coach probably spends his time there too, instead of supervising the soccer team.
Because of the suspicious behavior of the coach and for the safety of students, the school district should examine the internet browsing history files of every school internet device in the field house. Use of these devices is password protected. Passwords are assigned to CCHS staff and will indicate who used the devices, what internet sites they visited, the dates, and the times. A coach could be using school electronic devices to access illegal sites on the internet. Inspect the files on each computer. For the protection of students and school property, every lock in the field house should be rekeyed so that the current athletic director can control access to the field house.
On March 9, the boys’ varsity soccer team defeated St. John’s High School. With 307 students and 31 teachers, St John’s was the 1A regional champion in football, boys’ soccer, and girls’ track in 2015. In the game with 4A CCHS, the St. John’s soccer coach rotated all 18 players into the game, including three female student athletes. St. John’s doesn’t have a girls’ soccer team so the girls try out and play for the boys’ team. Saint John’s doesn’t have the budget CCHS has, but somehow they managed to find skilled coaches with a sincere commitment to their students.
Memories from 20 years as a teacher
On March 5, I turned 83. In June it will be 20 years since I retired from teaching: 18 years at Harleyville-Ridgeville High School, six years at Walterboro, and three years each at Rockford, Minn., Mt. Morris, Mich. and Borup, Minn.
Like everyone, my life has been a series of odysseys.
In Dorchester County in 1979, School District 3 was a total disaster when I started teaching there that fall. Years earlier, the rednecks elected a full-blown Nazi superintendent from The Citadel. The principal was a drunk and the assistant principal a white thief who snorted cocaine.
About 82-percent of the high school students were black, seven percent white, five percent Edisto Indian and the remainder Asian, etc.
Until that fall, students were allowed to smoke, and more students were out of class than in — when they should have been in. Grades 7-12 totaled about 400.
There had to be at last five sets of illegal accounting books, as federal grants of likely $3-million came from Washington and were siphoned off all the way back to the top.
Fights happened every hour, boys enjoyed bumping girls, theft was everywhere and the building was terrible: broken windows, lots of holes in the ceilings, intentional plugging up of commodes and septic water to wade through — especially during storms from both leaky ceilings and roofs and a stopped up drain field.
What went on on the beds under the bleachers day and night likely resulted in a lot of disease.
John McKissick at Summerville High School in District 2 was a leading S.C. football coach and his district seemed to get whatever it wanted. The castoffs were sent to St. George District 1; then St. George sent its castoffs to District 3-Harleyville. This meant the Summerville football team, stadiums and school were first class, while we had nothing or less.
For several years, I took tickets for football games in the rain. The public paid $3 to get in, wading through a big mud puddle. There were no police, no ambulances and no tickets. Sometimes I had to travel 30 miles back home to Walterboro on back roads with the funds, then bring them back to school on Monday mornings.
In 1976 I bought a 1968 yellow Chevy Vega for $600. I drove it 30 miles each day on back country roads that sometimes flooded across the Edisto River Bridge at the end of Sidneys Road. It was a long, rickety plank bridge. The morning drive, especially on Wire Road, often had burned-out car carcasses from some crime the night before. Hunters also left their hunting dogs there, and each day the dogs would dehydrate more and die, then the buzzards would pick their carcasses.
Road kill was often seen, and I kept a pail to put dead raccoons in to sell on the way back home at a store that dressed their hides for fur and gave me $5 in gas money. The Vega was a four-cylinder engine running on three. It cost about five cents a mile for all the expenses to run it — worn tires and insurance included.
Going the back roads comforted my nerves, and I often stopped at the bridge by myself for five minutes to reflect on my many, many blessings compared to my poor special students.
One year leaving school on the last afternoon before Christmas, just north of the bridge, I noticed a whole caravan of New York garbage trucks headed into the old Dupont Explosives Farm which had been converted into a gravel-sand operation. The drivers had big smiles on their faces, as if they were finally to get paid for their stolen trucks. I believe they got shot instead and buried along with the metal that wasn’t recycled.
Coming home after taking basketball tickets about 1 a.m. one night, with just enough gas to get back to Walterboro and home, I was stopped by two young women who knew me. Their car had broken down at the intersection of the bridge and Wire Road. They wanted me to take them home and wouldn’t ride back to Walterboro. A rough looking guy in an old pickup truck was most willing to drive them home, and I went on alone. The newspapers the next week told of their deaths.
I would easily write a book on this, but I hope this letter can relate a little bit of my life — which is now filled with a loving, 81-year-old wife, six blessed children, 16 grands and a most magnificent, awesome, loving God.
All those days are past when I was called “The Norwegian Narc” or “The White Shadow” for turning in lots of fighters and bullies. But I can still see through walls — if they have windows.
Downshouters are here
I have written before about the danger of the censorship being imposed on our college campuses. It is a fact that 90% of the professors in our university system are democrats and progressive liberals. This apparent discrimination against conservative professors would not be allowed in any other place of employment.
In the past, I have tried to draw a line between democrats and progressive liberals. I would describe it this way: democrats are the people who have some ideas conservatives can agree with, while the majority of progressive ideas are simply too extreme for conservatives to accept. Democrats and conservatives have found common ground in the past, and I would like to see them do so again.
The hard line being towed by progressives finds its roots in the four years of propaganda taught in the classrooms of our universities. In addition to far left teachings, our young people are not taught American history anymore. American history has become a course in hate America, pointing out every mistake that was made. There are no heroes only bigots. There no proud victories only accusations of American imperialism. There is no justice only prejudice. It is a continuous chain of criticism and negativity eagerly presented by professors who hate America.
They have, for two decades, fought to keep conservative speakers from appearing on their campus. They are convinced their ideas, their plans and their way of doing things is so perfect that listening to an outsider is a waste of time. Keeping opposing ideas and thoughts off campus is the only way to prevent these narrow-minded professors from having to debate the differences.
There was a new word used the other day by Stephen Carter in the Charleston paper called: “Downshouter.” This name refers to the method progressives use to disrupt, and even cause the end of a public meeting. They shout, they interrupt the speaker, they call out names and even use foul language. Downshouters know more than you. Downshouters know more than anyone. They are the perfect ones and so they have the right and power to control public speech anywhere and everywhere.
However, on the good news front, there is reason for hope that help is coming to begin fighting back against liberals and the monochrome in their teachings. Arizona State University has created a School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership. The primary purpose will be “the liberation from this intellectual patrimony.” It will counter the movement away from the principles of American founding fathers.
Historian Daniel Boorstin said: “Trying to plan for the future without knowing the past is like trying to plant cut flowers.” To put it in simpler terms, we have to know where we came from and where we have been in order to understand who we are and how we got here — before we plan the future.
America was formed not in a year or even a decade; it has grown from the Pilgrims and founding fathers and from the Mayflower Compact to our Constitiution and Bill of Rights. A Republic was formed using democracy as a form of government. How can anyone claim there is another better way forward until they study and understand our history?
Harvard’s conservative political philospher argues: “One of higher education’s highest purposes is to counter democracy’s leveling ethos by teaching young people how to praise… how to recognize and honor hierarchies of character and achievement. This purpose is now being aided by ASU’s new school’s teaching of the history of ideas and statesmanship. Let’s hope it is a fast-moving trend.