N.J. bill would give job security to tenured coaches
Sen. Troy Singleton sponsored the bill, which was introduced Monday. If passed, it would mandate that a public high school coach who is a tenured employee must receive an employment contract for a three-year term. Assistant coaches who meet the same standards would receive a two-year contract.Singleton’s proposal also would change the guidelines for removing those coaches from their jobs. At the end of the coach’s term, they must be notified in writing with at least 90 days notice that their contracts will not be renewed. Their contracts will automatically be renewed if no notice is given.
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If coaches are fired for poor performance, they would be given a year to correct the mistakes. The bill did not provide details on what constitutes “poor performance” or how those can be remedied.
Taking aim at malicious parents and community members, the bill also would stipulate that coaches can only be fired for just cause and cannot be removed for “arbitrary, capricious or unlawful reasons.” That seemingly seeks to minimize the influence of parents who complain about playing time or spread false rumors to have a coach removed. Any coach who is fired would have the option to request a hearing in front of the school board.
Singleton’s proposal does more to protect coaches, but opponents fear it gives them too much power. Stuart Green, founder and director of the New Jersey Coalition for Bullying Awareness and Prevention, told NJ.com that it could safeguard coaches who bully their athletes.
“The literal elements of this bill sound innocuous, but the spirit of it is to move power away from vulnerable kids and their families and move that power back in the direction of coaches, schools and school staffs.