Friday, December 7, 2012

The Lion's mane

There is a very interesting article in the Sports section of the pjstar about the suspension of Peoria High School Basketball Coach, Dan Ruffin. 

Those who are not from these parts may not know how beloved Coach Ruffin and the Peoria High School Basketball Program is. They also may not know that some of the most prominent citizens in this City played basketball for the Central Lions, that's part of the reason why Peoria High is still standing AND getting improvements.

Let me just say that the pjstar writer went OFF!. I pulled out some of the more salient pieces of the article because many of the statements are now a recurring theme with this Superintendent and her Board...


climate of intimidation 
cultivated by Superintendent Grenita Lathan.

Lathan and her people are out of bounds here.

When it comes to supporting coaches, teachers and principals on issues involving discipline, her reputation is not good. The belief runs throughout the district that her unspoken message to students is they won’t be held accountable for their actions, whether it’s misconduct in the classroom or failing to comply with board policy. This hair incident doesn’t do anything to counter that perception, nor the one that 

she believes rules and procedures don’t apply to her.

Lathan is superintendent, but she’s not queen.

The policy that allows the coaches to impose team rules and, yes, regulate the appearance of their players was approved by the school board and last revised in July 2011. If Lathan wanted to amend it — perhaps, declare that participation in school athletics is a Constitutional right for every student — fine. 

Take it to the board, which employs her... and win the vote.
She hasn’t done that.

Instead, her office issued a mandate and sends out spokesman Chris Coplan to try to explain to the public.

“The district,” Coplan told the Journal Star’s Adams, “does not have a policy specific to hair styles, and team decisions should not be made that do not follow district-wide policies.”

Huh?

32 comments:

Emerge Peoria said...


“The district does not have a policy specific to hair styles, and team decisions should not be made that do not follow district-wide policies.”

If that's the case, all these years that athletes have had to comply with rules that the broader student population didn't have to adhere to, could mean somebody may have a lawsuit, regardless.

Anonymous said...

The "Board" is incompetent. They need to grow at least four pair and pull "their employee" in.

What's so ridiculous about the on going crazy stuff with the SUPER is two people on the Board say they are lawyers. WOW.

Anonymous said...

Wessler's article made my day. When is the board going to pull up on the reins of Lathan. Life has rules, and the some of the youth of Peoria are held to a lower standard. My son's played sports in peoria ansd theyfollowed all the rules. Time for this board and Lathan to go. By the looks of things, she is making more enemies.

Sharon Crews said...

We do need to get a handle on what are rights and what are privileges. I know that hair styles are a touchy issue. This issue, however, has not been handled in an acceptable way and Danny Ruffin should not have been suspended. The board needs to weigh in on these issues--too many policy decisions are being made without their input.

Anonymous said...

Wessler said,

"To be fair, maybe Lathan feels forced out of bounds. I’m told she feared legal action if coaches were allowed to continue making team rules on hair styles. God knows the district can’t afford more lawsuits, even ones that appear obviously frivolous."

If he wanted to be fair, he would have given fair time to the District's side. Instead, he chose to use the sports pages for a rant against the superintendent's style. I bet his wife liked that.

Anonymous said...

Essentially the students in D150 can do as they please, sans discipline, yet principals, teachers, et. al are having their feet held to the fire continually. After 20 years in this district, I am SO done. This woman is completely incompetent, even more so than Ken Hinton and Kay Royster. The buck stops with HER so she pacifies the parents and throws her staff under the bus. Lathan says kids should be able to "do as they please" yet as teachers, it has been made extremely clear that WE are to dress professionally ALWAYS, although there is NO dress code. I used to wear nice jeans and a school shirt on "payday Fridays", but not anymore, for fear I will be fired.....after all, it WILL APPEAR ON YOUR EVALUATION...fear and intimidation is her method of leading.

Anonymous said...

Dr. Lathan Amateur Athletic Director

Anonymous said...

Did you not read the article in yesterday's paper? There was absolutely no reason to rehash the District side in todays's paper after that piece. Kirk gave more time to the district side than Pam Adams gave to Ruffin.

Anonymous said...

A rumor I heard is that Lathan is blaming the athletic directors at the schools for her problem with the IHSA about the year long instead of semester grades. As usual she blames everyone but herself. She will make them pay dearly for her mess. Because of Lathan, the schools are not a safe place to be anymore. Wake up BOE!

Emerge Peoria said...

Huge fight tonight at the Manual vs. Central game.

Anonymous said...

They may have to start playing those games in an empty Gym. Maybe they could stream them on the net like they do the board meetings. smdh

Anonymous said...

Some people don't seem to understand the role of the superintendent and that of the board of ed. From the District 150 policies:

"The Board adopts policies necessary to provide general direction for the District and to encourage achievement of District goals. The Superintendent develops plans, programs, and procedures needed to implement the policies and directs the District’s operations."

Further, the Superintendent is specifically empowered to suspend non-professional personnel. Coaches can make team rules, but they can't interfere with a student's rights. The district allows students to participate in athletics. Coaches can't discriminate. Lathan previously warned Ruffin and other coaches about the hair policy.

It's hard to see how Lathan was "out of bounds", as Wessler claims. The simple fact is Wessler didn't like the result, and he's trying to seek a higher authority. That's fine, but Lathan had not only the right but also the responsibility to enforce the rules that protect the rights of all students.

Anonymous said...

Playing baskeball is not a RIGHT, get that through your noggin...

Anonymous said...

The RIGHT is to not be discriminated against. Perhaps your noggin can't understand that.

Anonymous said...

Dan Ruffin is BLACK....who is he discriminating against? He asks for his players to follow the RULES. Guess rules are meant for everyone EXCEPT Raykim...

Anonymous said...

The "right" to play baskteball? bahahagagagagaga

Anonymous said...

Perhaps the District does not have a policy about committing personal fouls when your basketball team is winning. So according to D150's spokesperson's logic, the coaches need to stop benching players for committing unwanted fouls, unless the District issues a policy against fouls.

Anonymous said...

The District has a non-discrimination policy. Trump card.

Anonymous said...

Once again I ask how we will we ever clean up the Latham mess??? When the BOE does wake up and Latham is fired, how many years will it take us to recover from unruly kids running the schools???BOE should go visit Lincoln Middle school. It is a disaster. Kids run the place. Now we are going to place K-4 in the same building? Not safe.

Anonymous said...

Yes, the kids run all the schools not just Lincoln. The students will tell us, there isn't anything you can do to us. All we have to is have mom or dad go to the superintendent and you will be fired.They laugh, they joke, they deliberately break the rules and policies and throw it in our faces. The other schools just laugh at us and now so will all the coaches from other schools. She has taken away everyone's authority in Dist 150. Since when does the superintendent get involved in athletic rules? Where is the IHSA on this? I know they don't tell the coaches what rules to make but can't they do something about Ruffin? I thought they were the only ones who could suspend a coach?

Anonymous said...

The district knew there was going to be a big fight on Friday night because they cancelled DOC swim practice for that night at Manual. The district sent out a notice midweek that the swim team could not be at the building on Friday night because of the basketball game. This is the first time such a notice has been sent out. The district did not do anything to avoid the fight.

Anonymous said...

Emerge, is it your birthday?

Anonymous said...

So, if a student has no basketball ability and coach does not put him/her on the team, is it discrimination? The student is not kept from his education. The student just cannot be a part of the team if he does not have the team spirit mentality. If his hair is more important to him than playing basketball, that is his choice. We all have to make choices. I had a friend in high school who choose to fail keyboarding instead of cutting her long fingernails. Her choice. No lawsuit.

Anonymous said...

I thought the district was paying someone ie., Bobby Darling, to be the district A.D. Where is he in all of this mess? And why is he being paid?

2 said...

Bobby Darling isn't the AD.

PJStar's "Our View" editorial today is outstanding. It reiterates the "old school" idea of following rules.

Heck, kids in D150 have no idea what rules are. Somebody is going to get terribly hurt in this district thanks to no consequences. Fights break out all over the district daily. Weapons are also an everyday issue, but nothing happens.

anony2 said...

We, the teachers, have been saying this for years now. She is out of control and ruling by intimidation. Less and less of us are even attempting to speak because she seems to get more and more powerful--thanks to the BOE. We want to mold the best citizens we can and we are unable to do that with the ZERO accountability clause we have been given in our contract by LATHAN! We need more people like Wessler who can stand up, shout about how completely INSANE this woman is, and not face potential job loss because of it.

As long as these kids, from K - 12th grade, are taught they can do whatever they please to teachers, staff, and peers with no punishment, Peoria will become more and more unsafe and people will laugh louder and louder at how stupid we all appear to be.

Lasso Lathan and toss her to Toronto. That might be far enough away to make me happy.

Anonymous said...

So if the coach doesn't give the player who isn't very good, enough playing time, can mommy or daddy complain to Lathan and coach will have to play that student? Time for her to go. When is the Board going to do what is right for the district? All teams have rules not just District 150. That is part of life. If you don't like it don't play, simple as that!

Anonymous said...

Wait did someone say someone MIGHT get hurt? UM it has already happened Randy Simmions got bite by a student, a teacher from day treatment was assaulted twice last year and taken out by ambulance. Teachers are kicked, spit on, bullied and nothing is happening to these students who have a right to education. Tell me where else but 150 can you go to work for the day and have to worry about being assaulted on an hourly basis. I bet if Latham got spit on, beat up, bite, kicked and bullied it would be the last time that student stepped into a 150 school. No she gets to hide behind her locked door at administration and just yell out orders. Then the rest of her cronies get to go out and dish out the orders to the teachers. They are the ones who get to say, Oh you are being fired or suspended with out pay for attempting to do your job and failing because you could not keep a child in line. BAHAHAHAHA!

Anonymous said...

Well maybe the state will take care of Latham. Mary O'Brian is now the Acting Director of Assessment for ISBE. Mary is quite a bit like Latham(bully, controlling etc). Since she left the distict on bad terms,I'm sure she's watching #150. But she may help relieve us from GL.

Anonymous said...

District cannot attract subs. That is certainly not the way it use to be. There was a time when getting a sub was very easy. This district is so concerned about an athletes hair it has no concern about discipline and exposing the subs to students that are very disruptive. Probably if discipline is addressed Coaches would not have to address the issue of hair and the district would have subs. All of the former subs I know have decided to not put their name in because since the present superintendent and her group took over, their have no support and discipline is a real issue.

This district is going to hell in a hand basket. Glad my days of sending children to 150 are over.

Anonymous said...

Subs do not want to work for the district anymore. It has gotten terrible since Lathan took over. The BOE has let her ruin the district and a whole generation of kids. I'm glad I pulled my kids from the district. No consequences and students get to do what they want.

Anonymous said...

I retired last year after teaching in the district for 25 years. I have worked for some wonderful principals, Hinton, Salzman, Duke, and Hamer.I loved what I did. I love the kids and the staff, we were like family. Under Lathan rule, I knew it wAS TIME TO GO. bEHAVIOR IN THE CLASSROOM WAS OUT OF CONTROL, STUDENTS WERE GIVEN SO MANY CHANCES AND i WAS CUSSED AT, HIT AT AND CALLED NAMES THAT embarrassed me to tell their parents. I signed up to sub this year and the terror continues. it is not worth the pay to be treated like dirt.