Hundreds rally to reinstate fired C-NS softball coach
Hundreds of angry residents are defending a long-time softball coach who was fired from the Cicero North Syracuse School District two weeks ago, following allegations of team bullying. Kerry Bennett had coached 30 seasons at C-NS. Our Candace Hopkins reports from North Syracuse.
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NORTH SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- Six weeks have passed since the C-NS school board decided coach Kerry Bennett's 30th season, would be his last following allegations made by former player Brittany Paul, who claimed Bennett allowed her teammates and some of their parents, to bully her.
Monday evening hundreds packed the district's office to demand Bennett be rehired.
"To be perfectly blunt with you, you have made an egregious error for dismissing Kerry for what I deem are unfounded charges", said Former C-NS Assistant Softball Coach and Teacher Bill Bradley.
Ten speakers took to the mic defending Coach Bennett, while hundreds of other supporters looked on. And along with that support came questions, about why the board has fired Bennett, and the board's secrecy surrounding the investigation that led to that decision.
Baldwinsville Varsity Softball Coach Tracey Roman also spoke out, "Wouldn't you want to know, after 30 years of dedicating your life to something, why you were being fired? Since Kerry Bennett's firing on August 17th the board has been presented with many pieces of information that would've been revealed if a more throughout investigation been conducted."
Brittany Paul alleges some of her teammates turned on her following a decision to skip their state championship game to attend her senior prom, and that Bennett allowed the bullying to go on.
Former players, like Maura Secora, say Bennett simply never would have allowed that."As a role model he taught us to work hard, to not give up, the meaning of teamwork, he never tolerated any wrong doing, he was one of the most fair people I knew."
Immediately following the public comment portion of the meeting, the school board president defended their decision to fire Bennett, but refused to give specific details about the investigation that led to that firing, which angered the crowd.
While the supporters walked away defeated Monday night, they said the fight to reinstate Bennett, is far from over.
No one spoke against Kerry Bennett or in favor of Brittany Paul. The board said they will not reconsider their decision and the matter is closed. Meanwhile, Paul has graduated and will be playing softball in college this year.