DOTHAN, Ala. (WDHN) — Dothan City Schools has removed an assistant coach from his position following controversial statements made online.
DCS has been investigating Timothy Gillespie, an assistant coach for the Dothan High School Varsity Boys Football Team, following statements made concerning the riots over the death of George Floyd.
Superintendent Phyllis Edwards said while she usually does not comment on personnel matters, she was unhappy at what the coach expressed. She also said the current societal climate would have been the time to show proper leadership for the students.
“This particular coach will not be part of the football team,” “He will not be a presence. He will not be a coach with us.”
The school system also offered the following statement on the Gillespie situation.
Across the nation, we are all hurting from the tragic death of Mr. George Floyd. This sad incident is sure to elicit many varied emotions from all of us. Tragedies of this nature reach far beyond the specific locality of their occurrence and profoundly impacts all of us individuals and across the broader community in countless ways. Unfortunately, these tragedies also remind us that we have much work to do. We appreciate the partnership with our families and communities as we continuously work every day to address those challenges.
Over the weekend, a Dothan City School employee shared comments on his personal page that do not reflect our system’s values and culture. We come to our community today to let you know that we do not condone these comments. We entrust our educators to be leaders not only in the classroom they serve but in the community they live in. Their actions reflect on their position as a role model for our students. Our students deserve the best. Our students deserve to learn in an environment where they feel a sense of belonging and connection to their school and teachers, where their social-emotional, physical, and mental health is nurtured and valued.
In the coming days, the investigation will conclude and a recommendation will be made to the Dothan City School Board of Education. As of now, we can report that the employee has been removed from their coaching position with the Dothan High School Wolves Football Team.
Although this has been a challenging end of the school year, we want to emphasize how much we value our community and our families. We will always stand together and remain ONE CITY ONE TEAM.
Edwards also said while a social media policy is still in the works, she cited both the current policies and educator ethics guiding conduct that would damage their ability to do their job.
“People can have their opinion, certainly, but when you’re associated with an organization, you represent that association as well,” Edwards said.
She will make a recommendation to the board, which will make any other decisions on the situation.
You can watch Edward’s own statement in the video above.