Parents rally to keep volunteer coaches after board comments

BERKELEY COUNTY, S.C. (WCIV) -- The superintendent of Berkeley County Schools addressed concerns at the last board meeting about parent-coach volunteers giving their children special treatment.

The comments created a stir. Now some parents are concerned they may be taken from the sidelines of the games and moved out to the bleachers.

At the last Berkeley County School Board meeting, Superintendent Dr. Rodney Thompson addressed concerns about parent volunteer coaches giving their kids special treatment.

"We have heard concerns of rumors and misperceptions about parents offering preferential treatment to their respective children on athletic teams when they function in a supervisory role regarding on-the-field coaching decisions," said Thompson in a statement from the last school board meeting released from the district.

Lane Wofford is a Berkeley High School graduate and comes from a family line of generations of athletic coaches. Wofford says he understands the superintendent's concerns, but parents are needed for an athletic program to succeed.

"We have over 40 sports at Berkeley High School," said Wofford. "Who else is going to invest hundreds of hours throughout a season? It's going to take somebody that's really invested in the program a parent. "

Wofford started a petition online to keep parent volunteer coaches. The website has more than 400 signatures, but Dr. Thompson thinks school staff could do the job.

"Allowing our staff members to serve as coaches allows positive and powerful mentoring relationships for students," said Thompson in the statement.

So far no proposal to ban parent coaches has been made. Wofford thinks the decision shouldn't be in the hands of the district, but the coaches.

"I understand that there could be an issue with a parent volunteer coach. But I think you hire athletic directors to make decisions like these," said Wofford. "Our school board has far bigger things to worry about than a parent volunteer coach at one of our high schools."

The next Berkeley County School Board meeting is Tuesday night.

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