Westover High School girls basketball team holds protest in support of coach
Posted December 9, 2016
Fayetteville, N.C. — The Westover High School girls varsity basketball team played their second game Friday without their Coach, Theodora “Tammy” Brown.
According to parents and students, Brown was relieved of her duties earlier this week because of an incident that is a longstanding tradition with the basketball team.
“It’s very hurtful because we finally got a basketball coach that’s willing to invest in our team,” said parent Melanie Kincy. “She nurtures them. She guides them. She helps them with academics.”
Kincy said Brown's removal from the team happened after school administrators found out about a team bonding sleep-over that happened at a local hotel last weekend. Kincy said the team building exercise is a long standing tradition supported by her and other parents.
“The team bonding was chaperoned,” Kincy said. “There was nothing out of the ordinary. She had permission not only from parents in written form but she also had permission from the school’s athletic director.”
Coach Brown's exit from the team prompted dozens of students to stage a sit in Friday morning at the school. Students posted the photo on Twitter with #LetCoachBrownCoach. The school called in extra security, but the incident ended peacefully.
“They need to let my coach coach. Let her do her job,” student Kiyah Williams said.
Based on Cumberland County School's records, Brown is a criminal justice teacher at Westover High School since August and the girls varsity basketball coach.
Parents from the Westover High School girls basketball team released a statement:
We, as the parents of the Westover High School lady Wolverines, are here to express the pain in our hearts on behalf of our daughters. Our girls have had their beloved coach ripped away from them for what feels like the most unjust and unfounded of reasons. Coach has done nothing, but ensure that our girls are given access to a good program and help to push them to their greatest potential. She has been harassed up to the point of being told that she was losing her job for hosting a team-building night which has been a tradition. Coach had the permission of all of the parents and the OK from the Westover athletic director.
Suddenly students were called into the principal's office and asked about the sexuality of other team members. Questions were inappropriate and offensive. This most suspicious behavior by the principal seems related to the administrator’s unusual conduct toward Coach. Our beloved coach has been nothing except for an excellent role model and we are disturbed by what seems to be a hunt of the most homophobic kind. You don't get rid of your most loyal, caring, and encouraging teachers. Please we are asking the Community to Support coach. She does not deserve this treatment. Reinstate her as the lady Wolverines coach, teacher, and mentor. Let us stand for well informed, student invested adults who can recognize the uniqueness of our differences.
Dr. Vernon Lowery, Westover High School's principal, was at the basketball game. She had no comment on Coach Brown and said she was there to support her students.
The school district also makes the point that Brown is not suspended.