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Letter to the editor: Decision on keeping coach was expected

Posted: May 21, 2017 - 12:27am

Dear CNT Editor,

 

The Augusta Chronicle reported, "The McDuffie County Board of Education voted Thursday night (May 11, 2017) to keep Rob Ridings as Thomson's head football coach. Ridings was initially placed on administrative leave with pay April 25 after an incident in which the coach broke protocol by going to Thomson-McDuffie Middle School and confronting a student." Ridings is white and the student is black.

For this reason, the vote in favor to keep Ridings was expected since Thomson is a predominately white town whose resident's emotional state and self-esteem are linked to the football team's wins and losses. More than likely, that is why the school board voted to protect the job security of a white high school football coach rather than protect the emotional security of a black middle school student.

Moreover, it did not matter to the school board that Ridings may have done more than break protocol. By his actions, it appeared he violated an ethics standard. There is a Georgia Professional Standards Commission Code of Ethics for Educators. In particular, Standard number 2, Conduct with Students, says, "An educator shall always maintain a professional relationship with all students, both in and outside the classroom." It appears Ridings failed to maintain this standard. He acted unprofessionally by becoming unhinged by hearsay, then traveling to a middle school to confront a student without authorization.

Had this been a black male high school teacher who became unhinged and went out of his way to confront a white middle school student, the black teacher would probably have been fired.

- Kevin Palmer,

Martinez, GA

 

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