Your Voice: Minnesota legislation on parent complaints
Readers React to Minesota Legislation Safeguarding Coaches from Parents
High school coaches in Minnesota can breathe a little easier these days. In May, the state government approved a bill prohibiting parent complaints from being the sole reason a coach’s contract is not renewed by the school board. The groundbreaking decision, recognized by the National Federation of State High School Associations as the nation’s first, is a significant step in providing safeguards against parents with a grudge.What remains to be seen is whether the legislation will work or catch on with other states. Coach and Athletic Director conducted a survey of more than 2,000 readers about the bill, school boards and overzealous parents. Here are the results along with some of their responses. Log on to coachad.com/minnesotabill to read more comments from your peers.
1. Should the government get involved in protecting coaches from parents who are trying to have them removed?
“As with any position, due process should be the rule and not the exception. Parent or student-athlete input should be an element of that process, and not the driving force behind it.”
“I would rather have a school board with enough guts to stand up to parents than to have the legislature pass a bill, but it seems that too many schools are not willing to back their coaches. At least this way, the school board can claim the law doesn’t allow it to remove a coach, which is easier than the board standing behind him or her after a down year.”
2. Do you have faith that your school board would disregard erroneous parent complaints when considering contract renewals?
“Most boards are afraid of their own shadow and would throw a teacher or coach under the bus to protect their personal interests.”
“Some school board members would not listen to parents, and some would. School boards should only be in charge of policy, not running the school. That’s why the administration was hired.”
“Sadly, I feel all school districts are failing in regard to giving parents too much control. When parents complain in our district, we’re immediately called in and the situation is discussed. In regard to contract renewals, the parents just hold grudges against certain coaches.”
3. As a coach or athletic director, have you ever had a parent go over your head in an attempt to have you removed from your position?
“I have seen it happen, with parents even hiring lawyers who specialize in school law and code enforcement.”
“I have not, but I don’t doubt that after coaching long enough it will eventually happen. Coaches have to make decisions, and those decisions are rarely liked by everyone.”
“The worst that happened to me was when someone used their position on a church committee (during committee meetings) to try and drum up support to get me fired. It worked.”
4. Would you support your state adopting a bill similar to the one approved in Minnesota?
“I have not read the bill, but I believe each school district must make decisions for their own district.”
“I feel that the AD and principal’s evaluations should be the determining factor when deciding a coach’s fate. These should be made readily available to school boards on a consistent basis. This would keep the school board informed about all head coaches, and would help head off any unwarranted attacks on our coaches. Getting the government involved is not always the best option.”