Community must get chance to speak

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, June 13, 2006

The face of the Ironton City Schools’ athletic programs may start to change Tuesday when the Ironton School Board meets to look at these and other personnel vacancies.

The group will convene in special session at 6 p.m. today at the administration building to look at its employment opportunities, a conversation that very well may include looking at filling the sizable shoes left by head football coach Bob Lutz and girls’ basketball coach Amy Hughes.

Much of the community has been concerned with the direction the district is headed and should be given the chance to publicly weigh in on these issues and see a list of all applicants for each post.

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This controversy reared its head earlier this year when Lutz announced that he would not return. Shortly after, Hughes opted to take a similar position and administrative post in Chillicothe.

Coupled with the departure of boys basketball coach Roger Zornes after the 2005 season, many in the community began to question if there were leadership problems within the athletic department that may have contributed to three winning coaches calling it quits.

School officials have denied all these allegations.

However, these are valid questions that deserve honest answers and open debate. The community has expressed much concern over these changes, many pointing the finger at the administration and athletic director. These concerns grew last month when nearly 100 citizens attended a board meeting but were limited in what they could say.

Ironton’s citizens and its taxpayers have the right to express their concerns about the direction the district is going, regardless of any union contract that attempts to limit public discussion.

We urge citizens to be civil, express their own opinions in general terms and without making allegations that cannot be substantiated.

Comments should center on the district and the department more than individual situations.

Likewise, board members and the administration must remember that our citizens have the right to express their views, especially about public figures and public employees. Just because an opinion may not be flattering to one or two individuals does not mean that it can be suppressed.

Freedom of speech is one of the things that makes America the great nation that it is.