The Hancock-Henderson Quill, Inc.
My letter is in regards to the recent dismissal of Todd Porter as the Head Coach of the La Harpe Jr. High Baseball Team, and of a thing our School Board calls an "Executive, or Closed Session".
An ""Executive Session, or Closed Session" is just another away, and I might add, a very convenient way for our elected school board members and hired administrators to hide behind some sort of an iron wall of protection.
I personally think it is a convenience that should be disallowed at all times because our Superintendent (he would be the hired one), and our School Board Members (they would be the elected ones), should at all times be held accountable for every vote or decision made at our school board meetings. Something stinks in Denmark when a highly respected coach can be so easily removed with so much secrecy, and without so much as an inkling of what is about to be handed down, or an opportunity for Coach Porter to defend himself for whatever reason. It is the very least Coach Porter deserved after all his years of service to our Baseball programs.
And, if you ask our school board members or Superintendent why, you will get the same convenient "Can't discuss it, it was a decision made in closed, or executive session."
Oh, I'm sorry, I wasn't aware of that. Excuse me for having the audacity to ask such a stupid question.
I thought since I was a voter, parent and taxpayer in this school district I had the right to know why a decision was made.
Guess not. I find our board to be (for lack of a better word) gutless in not giving us, the same voters, parents, and taxpayers just mentioned, as well as Mr. Porter himself a reason for his dismissal.
I wonder, was it a decision based on facts and nothing but the facts, or a decision based upon a personal grudge by a school board member, or rumors, hearsay, gossip, innuendos, or other falsehoods feasted upon in Smalltown, USA?
As for Coach Porter and the facts I know of, Coach Porter has done nothing but give, and give, and give a little more to our Boys Junior High Baseball Program for 18 years, as well as the High School Baseball Program which he still continues today to serve as Head Coach at Illini West, Countless thousands of hours devoted to the sport of Baseball and the betterment of the young men playing it.
Lest we forget how Coach Porter brought our Junior High boys home with a State Championship in 2005.
We should feel lucky to have a Coach of his hard-earned merit and devotion to the game in our small community.
I would think it embarrassing to our Board that on the very same day they were dismissing Coach Porter from our Junior High Baseball program he was having his picture taken for The Quincy Herald Whig as their pick for High School Baseball Coach Of The Year.
An accolade also bestowed to him this same year by The Macomb Daily Journal.
I find it appalling Coach Porter could be so highly regarded by two well respected Western Illinois Newspapers for his achievements at the High School level as a Head Coach at the same time our School Board here in Peyton Place was voting behind their iron wall to dismiss him as our Junior High Baseball Coach.
Did I mention Coach Porter was our Jr. High State Champion Coach just 4 short years ago?
Perhaps the saddest part of this story comes on more of a personal side to Mr. Porter and his two fine sons. All of his years of devotion were to be rewarded in the next few years by having the opportunity of coaching both of his sons at the Jr. High level. To Mr. Porter's sons I say hang in there boys, you will have that joy when you reach High School in a few years.
To our School Board members that voted for dismissal (since we don't know who voted how) I have little more than to say I find your actions as unfounded as I do shameful.
Why don't you do the right thing and re-instate him at the position he not only deserves, but the one he has earned?
MARK L. FINCH