One beloved DeKalb County coach is under fire after allegedly making a child stand in the rain as punishment. Coach James P. O'Donnell, a.k.a Coach O’D, is a teacher at Henderson Mill Elementary School.
11Alive reached out to the DeKalb County School District (DCSD) to confirm the accusations against the beloved coach.
“The DeKalb County School District (DCSD) is committed to behaviors that provide a safe and healthy learning environment for students. The district does not discuss personnel matters and cannot speak directly to your questions about the individual you noted. However, the occurrence has been investigated and DCSD has taken appropriate action based on its findings,”said DCSD.
Parents rallied behind the P.E. coach Friday afternoon. One parent said the coach is an important part of the community.
“There was a time where for 24 hours he shot free throws so he could raise money to help build the gym. Those kind of teachers are hard to find anymore...with that type of dedication,” said Michele Noma. Noma’s son attends the school. Noma said the coach has been an integral part of the community for 39 years.
Parents at the rally said they believed the district allowed the media to influence the decision.
“We feel like the investigation should be given more time. We know there was some students who were able to corroborate [that] the student was being unruly,” said Noma.
Another parent said he plans to attend the school board meeting to ask for the policy educators must follow in these situations.
Jonathan Clay said teacher’s shouldn’t be put in a position to have to decide between leaving a class of kids alone or one student alone. He said the school system is really putting the teachers in jeopardy.
“What concerns me is the school system has put that teacher in a condition where they had no other option of how to deal with a situation. Either let the child continue to disrupt the class so that the other students could not learn. Take that disruptive child up to the school building and leave the other children in an unsafe situation,” said Clay.
Supporters of Coach O'D will be in attendance at Monday nights DeKalb County Board of Education Community Meeting. The meeting will take place at 5:45 p.m. at the County offices.