ROGERSVILLE — The Cherokee High School girls basketball team, which was suffering through a 1-25 season, was dealt another blow last week when the head coach and assistant coach were suspended for the rest of the season for school policy violations.
According to a reliable source within the school system who wished to remain anonymous, the violation pertained to texting with a player.
Specifically, the allegation was that a player texted a “derogatory” comment about a teammate to one or both coaches, and the coach or coaches allegedly replied to that text in agreement.
The suspensions took effect Wednesday.
The head coach, Kayla Ormsbee, and the assistant coach, Summer Cavin, will retain their teaching jobs.
The current policy pertaining to teacher/student communications was established following an incident last spring in which a Volunteer High School teacher allegedly sent sexually oriented comments to an 18-year-old student’s Facebook account after 1:30 a.m.
The new policy states that it is a teacher conduct violation to text, email or message students about any subject that doesn’t pertain directly to information necessary for upcoming school related events, such as homework or sports team practice schedules.
Although the Hawkins County Sheriff’s Office was called in to investigate the VHS incident, no charges were filed against the teacher, who was disciplined by the school and not rehired after the school year ended.
Sheriff Ronnie Lawson confirmed for the Times-News on Sunday that his office hadn’t been contacted about any incidents involving the Cherokee girls basketball team.
Director of Schools Charlotte Britton wouldn’t confirm the nature of the complaint against the coaches.
“The girls’ basketball head and junior varsity coaches at Cherokee High School have been suspended from all coaching duties for violating Hawkins County Board of Education policies and the employee code of conduct,” Britton said. “We are unable to comment further at this time due to the ongoing nature of the investigation. Jason Lawson has been named interim head and JV girls’ basketball coach for the remainder of the season. Athletic Director David Hartsook will assist Lawson along with current assistant coaches Danielle Trent and Christina Maddox.”
Britton added, “On behalf of the players and staff of Cherokee High School, we ask for the continued support of the parents, students, and fans of Lady Chiefs Basketball.”