I am a frustrated and concerned mom about the perceived bias that a Columbia County middle school coach has had against my son.
My son has been playing football for the past seven years with Columbia County Recreation and CAYFA and has been on four championship teams.
When he didn’t make the team at his middle school as a seventh-grader it was understood, as he had to compete against those much-bigger eighth-graders. This year as an eighth-grader, he went out for the team again and was excited to represent his school with a sport he loves. He is an experienced player, and those who were taller than him but who have never played made the team, including seventh graders.
We were stunned when he did not make the team as an eighth-grader with his experience. The coach gave him a hard time about going out for practice. He tried out and worked hard. Football is his love and only sport that he thrives on. ...
I addressed this concern to the principal and pointed out that he did not make the team because of his height. This perception was made clear immediately.
After discussions with the principal and superintendent nothing was resolved and the perception of bias continues. The principal has been very cordial. ... When the coach finally presented the rubrics to the principal to show why he did not make the team it indicated, “to be a running back you need to be fast and to be a lineman you need to be quick on your feet and hit hard.” He did not try out for running back but was placed in that group during tryouts! Tryouts should be a round-robin, putting boys in groups and rotating and not in just one area. That again looks like bias as my son wasn’t the fastest boy, but doing a 5.9 on his run with taller players on the team doing 7.0. ...
The final discussion with the principal was to ask the coach to please talk to my son to tell him where he is lacking so that he may work on those skills. ... My son went to the coach and he said, “The reason why you didn’t make the team was because of your size and speed. Your size (matters) because it’s easy for you to be blocked.”
Fortunately my son is a strong student and will not let that “size” comment hurt him. However, if the coach was aware of the bias regarding size he admitted that this was the reason for not providing a fair chance.
I appreciate everything the principal and superintendent did in listening to me and my frustrations. However, the way the situation was handled in the end was disappointing.
The coach has lost my respect because he made judgments and dumb statements about size to a teenager during those fragile years. He is also an educator and should think more carefully about what he says. ...
This chapter is closed and we will be moving on, but feel that it should be known that there are biases by coaches and unfairness that needs to be made public so this type of behavior is stopped for others. There are laws against discrimination, and my son was discriminated against because of his height.