Benton Harbor School Board files complaints against Uzelac amid resignation
A special meeting was held Monday night about the sudden resignation of the Benton Harbor High School football coach.
Elliot Uzelac made headlines nationwide by coming out of retirement to help lead the Tigers to the state playoffs, but now he's blasting the district, claiming students are not getting the education they deserve sparking an internal investigation.
The arguments are just getting started and the heat stems from allegations by the now former Coach Uzelac who just resigned from his position over the weekend. Monday night, the board addressed complaints against Uzelac himself.
The first complaint stated that Coach Uzelac improperly disclosed student information, particularly grades, without administrative consent and the school board says that information was false.
The board says the information was shared through a local newspaper, The Herald Palladium, and included information like “1,116 Fs issued to the high school’s 598 students in the semester ending last week”. It was also published that students were being allowed to walk during commencement without completing graduation requirements. But the board say that is just not true. Interim Superintendent Patricia Robinson stated that they did suspend one policy allowing some students to walk, but the bulk of these allegations are false.
Coach Uzelak’s attorney spoke during the meeting stating the allegations made about the school district’s academic struggle are true and he’s not backing down.
“He wanted to come today and reaffirm to this board that he stands by every word that he said, that he meant it,” said Uzelac’s attorney, Brian McMahon
Two other complaints came from board member Lisa Gulley who says Coach U made false statements about her, defaming her name and causing mental harm. While some parents and teachers stood by the board, many others stood by Uzelac, however everyone in the room says they’re for whatever it takes to get students the resources they need.
“Berrien Springs, Battle Creek, I don’t want to send him there. I want him to graduate from Benton Harbor High School. But in order for that to happen, we have to pull together,” said one parent.
“We’re trying to tear down the state championship team that just won, we should be working hard to keep it together. Let’s find out what we need to do,” said a former coach for the high school.
No evidence was given by Uzelac’s attorney to the board Monday, however he says they have it and if that’s the route the school board wants to go, they will be more than ready to present that evidence. Board members brought up in the meeting whether or not this might be a matter to take to public court, so that is now part of the discussion as well.
Stick with ABC 57 news as we continue to follow this developing story.