The Columbia County school board discussed preliminary rezoning proposals for next year's middle school districts at its meeting Tuesday.
The districts will be redrawn to prepare for the August opening of Stallings Island Middle School on Blackstone Camp Road.
The board will hold the first of two public hearings at Riverside Middle School at 7 p.m. Dec. 6. A second public hearing is scheduled for January before the board makes its final decision later that month.
Maps that outline the proposed zones are available at the Board of Education building, 4781 Hereford Farm Road, in Evans.
Robert Jarrell, the assistant superintendent of student support, said the school system hopes to post more detailed information on its Web site, www.ccboe.net, after Thanksgiving.
In other business, Superintendent Charles Nagle said Lakeside High School athletic director and football coach Jody Grooms was relieved of his duties as athletic director Wednesday.
He made the comment after the meeting in which a standing-room-only crowd attended, largely to support Grooms.
The coach has been under fire since he called an illegal play on the last play of the game in a 7-0 loss to Effingham County Nov. 2.
Nagle revealed his decision after the closed portion of the meeting in which the board discussed personnel matters, including disciplinary action against Grooms.
He said Principal Jeff Carney could appoint an interim athletic director. The superintendent also said he would make a final decision about further punishment for Grooms after he received a written recommendation from Carney.
"We are a community, and we all hurt together," Nagle said to the crowd. "This is not an easy decision for what has to take place."
The Lakeside football team and Grooms and his wife, Sharon, attended the meeting. Grooms declined to comment, but his wife spoke during the public comment portion of the session.
"It was one moment that has hurt our family forever," she said.
Sharon Grooms was one of eight people who spoke in support of her husband.
Sally Kolar, whose son played on the Lakeside football team, was the only person to speak against the coach.
"I disagree with what happened. That play was practiced. It was called 'the Heisman,' " she said.
Kris Hardy, the vice president of the Lakeside Athletic Boosters Club, said Grooms should be forgiven.
"An exceptionally good man made a bad decision. I've always been taught hate the sin, not the sinner," he said. "Are we teaching our children that you make one mistake, you're done?"
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