Students petition dismissal of Claiborne County High School football coach

Jerton Evans was removed from his position as football coach by Claiborne County Schools Friday.

Students petition Coach Jerton Evans' dismissal outside Claiborne County High School on May 2, 2016.

NEW TAZEWELL (WATE) – Parents and students are questioning the dismissal of a Claiborne County High School football coach and English teacher Jerton Evans after he was dismissed Friday.

Coach Jerton Evans (Change.org)
Coach Jerton Evans (Change.org)

“I made the difficult decision Friday not to re-hire Coach Evans for the 2016 – 2017 school year,” said Claiborne County Director of Schools Connie Holdway. “While I wish Coach Evans the best moving forward and respect the community members who have shown their support for him, I believe the right decision was made for Claiborne County Schools.”

Holdway said Claiborne County School has posted an open football and English positions, which are open to internal and external candidates. However, she gave little information about why the district made the decision not to renew Evans contract.

Some students lined up outside the school to protest Monday morning.

Monday, dozens of students petitioned Evans’ dismissal outside of Claiborne County High School. Members of the community have also started a “Bring back Coach Evans” petition on Change.org which already has over 200 signatures.

Claiborne County High School student protest
Meranda Cinnamon, a Junior at Claiborne County High School and cheerleader, at student protest.

Meranda Cinnamon, a Junior at Claiborne County High School and cheerleader, said students were upset because they were not given a reason why Evans was removed. Cinnamon said Evans told her that he was removed because he was no longer needed for the program.

“Our football players had low grades before he came. The coach previous didn’t care about their grades, he didn’t care about what they done. He made the football players keep their grades up. He made the students have a good time in class. All of the students who were in his class had good grades. He was outgoing and we just loved being around him,” said Cinnamon. “We talked to our main principal today and he wasn’t very respectful to any of us. He told us we couldn’t be on school grounds and that’s understandable, but we are protesting what we believe in.”

Other students were not as upset, and were not happy with the student protest happening outside the school.

“They’re doing it over something that we don’t have a choice over. They’ve done done it. They can’t like hire him back just like that. I don’t think it’s going to bring him back,” said Courtney Cowan. “What they could have done was go to the school board, not make a big deal about it in front of the school during state testing.”

WATE 6 On Your Side reached out to Evans and his wife but did not hear back as of Monday afternoon.

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