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Laurels and darts: CCS right to be mindful of coaches

February 7, 2011

LAURELS
Laurels to the Catawba County Schools Board of Education for taking a serious look at its policy for non-faculty coaches at the system’s schools.
While we find fault with the means through which CCS made public the proposals, deliberations and finally the revisions to the policy, the intent of the new protocol hits the right mark.
Simply put, school leaders — from principals to the system’s superintendent and its governing board — should have a clear understanding of the individuals who are spending countless hours working with student athletes. Further, the school system should explore every avenue to make sure the men and women who are coaching student-athletes are the same ones who are working with these young people in classrooms and school hallways.
Certainly, in the eyes of many student athletes, coaches are the men and women who dedicate themselves to helping teams achieve success on the playing field. We also know that during practice and games, these coaches help instill important “life” qualities in student athletes, such as sportsmanship, work ethic and perseverance.
These coaches, however, can and should be role models away from the playing field. When coaches and student athletes are able to interact throughout a school day inside classrooms and school hallways, it will both improve their relationships and further solidify coaches’ efforts to help develop strong character traits among their players.
CCS’ move to make a priority of hiring coaches from within the school goes a long way toward achieving that important mission. If a coach can’t be found from within a school’s faculty, alternate options of coaches drawn from feeder schools or the system at-large helps ensure that individuals leading student athletes already exhibit the character needed to obtain jobs within the school system. If they have been given the green light to work with young people in one county school, they should be OK to work with student athletes in all schools.
All that being said, there are plenty of quality individuals who aren’t school system employees that can also do a good job of instilling great character traits in student athletes. Plenty of these folks are volunteering parents, but there are also others who simply have a desire to work with young people.
There’s nothing wrong with that, and we fully support the hiring of these non-faculty coaches whole-heartedly. At the same time, however, we also support CCS leaders’ desire to review these coaching candidates, their qualifications and their character, before they are allowed to work with impressionable young people.
In the end, CCS leaders must protect the safety and well-bring of student-athletes, and adding one more level of review for non-faculty coaches will do just that.

DARTS
Darts to the latest ugly twist in the Zahra Baker saga that came when the Associated Press reported the woman the child’s father married has previously been married seven times — including occasions when she was married to more than one man at the same time. This evidence alone is indicative of Elisa Baker’s character, and it reveals the type of person that a 10-year-old Australian girl was forced to call “caretaker.”
Darts as well to the painfully slow legal process which hasn’t delivered charges against the woman any more serious than obstruction of justice and bigamy. Police investigators have compiled a case with thousands of documents and hundreds of hours of video evidence. That kind of case file will take a long time for prosecutors to review. We also know investigators and prosecutors have evidence of the dead child’s body being dismembered and that Elisa Baker knew locations throughout the county where the body was scattered. Yet, with all that circumstantial evidence, the county’s district attorney has failed to file any serious charge related to Zahra Baker’s death.
Meanwhile, the world watches a gruesome story that seems to get sicker by the day, and a district attorney whose only public comments point an accusatory finger at those he believes are hindering his case.

LAURELS
Laurels to news that Conover will receive a grant worth more than $400,000 to help create a wetland park at its blossoming Conover Station development.
Near the heart of the city’s downtown, Conover Station will be a mixed-use commercial development that will turn the old Broyhill Furniture property into a wonderful amenity for the entire county. Thanks to help from the Clean Water Management Trust Fund, the sprawling property will now include six acres of preserved park space. As the park space adds to Conover’s existing 12 acres of parks citywide, it helps create open recreational space in a part of the city that currently lacks such an area for citizens to enjoy.
Between the $415,719 grant announced this week, and plans to pursue more grant funds, it is clear that, as Conover crafts Conover Station, city leaders want to making the property both a commercial development and a recreational space. Doing so, ensures the property will be one that can be enjoyed by every citizen of Conover — as well as those throughout the county. Laurels to that.

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