A Crossett School Board meeting concerning a personnel matter turned into a six hour ordeal after a coach decided to fight  a recommendation that he be fired.

The hearing in question — regarding Coach Sirl Wright — lasted late into the evening Friday.

Wright is an employee of the Crossett School District as both a coach and a teacher. Wright was employed as the head coach of girl’s track, cross country and a football position coach, but his daily duties were in the Alternative Learning Facility, formerly known as Daniels Middle School. 

The issue under contention was an incident that happened in the ALE gym during regular school hours. Superintendent Gary Williams recommended Wright be fired after he reviewed the incident, which the district has declined to discuss.

Williams made his recommendation to the board during Friday’s hearing. Board members Katie Jordan, Keith Medders, Eddie Goodson and Robert Cornelius attended, and member Keith Carter was absent.

One vote by school board member, Katie Jordan,  halted the termination. Jordan said she didn’t feel there was “sufficient evidence” to warrant termination.

The board instead approved a modification to Williams’ recommendation that  suspended Wright from the school for 40 days. When he returns, he will be restricted from coaching, which was itself an issue on which school board members did not agree.

“The incident didn’t occur while Mr. Wright was acting as a coach, so I didn’t agree with removing him from all coaching,” Jordan said. “If we didn’t feel like he had the temperament to coach, then why would we be comfortable with him in a classroom full of children?”

Jordan said she feels as though this hearing brought many larger issues to the surface that will be resolved.

Board member Eddie Goodson declined to comment on the incident, stating that he would let  Williams speak for the district.

Wright declined to comment, saying that his attorney recommended that he not make any statements about the matter at this time.

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