Supporters of embattled basketball coach encourage charter school system to reinstate him

Coach Burney Hayes fired for confrontation

LAKE WALES - The basketball coach who lost his job after pushing a student, has a handful of parents calling foul.

Tuesday evening, a group of supporters strongly encouraged the Lake Wales Charter School Board to reinstate Coach Burney Hayes, who was let go earlier this month.

The board declined to answer questions during the meeting, but the school attorney said it would respond to the group's concerns within a few days.

"I think if the community believes in what he does, this board should believe in what he does," said Calvin Marion, on behalf of the group of supporters in attendance.

"He's an individual who cares a lot about our students, that cares a lot about this school, and cares a lot for this community," he said. "And I believe that Mr. Hayes needs to be reinstated."

The outrage started shortly after the school principal fired Burney Hayes for how he handled a misbehaving player during a basketball practice.

Surveillance cameras and a student's cell phone caught the encounter with the student.

Hayes can be seen on the video grabbing the kid with both arms and pushing him out of the gym.

During the meeting, the school attorney said he was fired, in part, because he's a liability due to problems at the school and at previous jobs.

"In our case, apparently our principal was really the last employer willing to take a chance on the subject," said Robin Gibson.

Many of the parents in attendance are not convinced with the school's decision, and say they will continue to fight for his return.

"You can't find another gentleman like this. If we allow him to be taken and be dismissed from this school, we're doing a disservice for this community, and not just this community but America," said David Riley, a concerned parent.

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