A group of Dumas parents again told the state Board of Education today that they weren’t happy that a football coach in the Dumas School District wasn’t terminated despite having sent a racist text message.
Earlier reporting in the Democrat-Gazette indicated that the superintendent recommended that a coach, identified as Max Pennington, who’s also dean of students, not be rehired because he sent a text to a parent that said, “I hate niggers.” He reportedly texted 11 minutes later that he’d meant to write, “I hate beggars.” Parents haven’t accepted that excuse. They added further complaints about his conduct during a public comment period at the end of the board’s meeting today.
The Dumas School Board didn’t accept the don’t-rehire recommendation of Superintendent Kelvin Gragg, but gave the coach a 100-day suspension, directed sensitivity training and asked for a public apology. He hasn’t returned to work as yet. His potential presence is a problem, one parent said. “There has to be a strategy that this man doesn’t have authority or supervision over one of our children.”
Education Commissioner Johnny Key indicated, as he had earlier, that parents can make complaints to a professional standards unit at the Education Department that investigates ethical misconduct and can make a recommendation for a loss of licensure. He said he couldn’t know, under law, if parents had taken the suggestion to make complaints or what the status of an investigation might be. But he said he believed parents weren’t being ignored. “But there is a process. It takes a long time,” he said.