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Aug 31, 2016 11:47 AMPublication: The Southampton Press

Southampton High School Football Players Support Suspended Coach At Board Meeting

Southampton High School Senior Jack O'brien spoke on behalf of his football team in support of their coach Eddie West who was suspended after flushing a player's marijuana down the school toilet and not reporting the incident to school officials. GREG WEHNER
Aug 31, 2016 11:47 AM

Roughly 25 members of the Southampton High School Mariners football team attended Tuesday night’s Southampton School Board meeting to support of one of their mentors.

Although none of the parents would go on the record, one source said Eddie West, an assistant coach on the football team, was recently suspended for failing to notify the administration about an incident where he discovered marijuana on a player, and flushed it down the toilet in the school bathroom.

The source said another person brought the marijuana to the school, and Mr. West approached the student with it in front of the other team members to make a point. The coach asked the player if it was his, which the player at first denied but later admitted. According to the source, the coach told the player to choose football or drugs, and then flushed the pot down the toilet.

The teacher was suspended, according to the parent, for not reporting the incident.

Mr. West did not return a telephone message seeking comment on Wednesday morning.

Jack O’Brien, a senior on the football team, spoke in support of his coach and on behalf of the team.

“The member of the coaching staff that is in question has touched all of our lives,” Jack told members of the School Board. “He has helped us through thick and thin. Never has he had ill will for any of us.”

The meeting was delayed by an executive session, which, according to Board President Roberta Hunter, was in reference to what had brought all the student-athletes to the board meeting.

“This was the first time that the board has had an opportunity to sit and talk together about the set of circumstances in regards to an important member of our community here at our school,” Ms. Hunter said without specifically naming Mr. West.

“We want to communicate to you that we feel very committed that we are on a path here … that I think will be to everyone’s satisfaction,” Ms. Hunter said.

Bus Route Proposal

Southampton Elementary School students who take the bus may not have to wait as long to leave the school grounds if a new proposal works out.

Emmett Urban, director of facilities at the Southampton School District, presented a proposal to the School Board on Tuesday to extend the dead-ended parking lot on school grounds near Little Plains Road into the town parking lot, to allow buses to exit and head either north or south on Little Plains Road.

Currently, buses that load from the rear of the Southampton Elementary School run into long delays at the traffic light at Hampton Road and Pine Street because of the high volume of cars that traverse the popular strip in Southampton Village.

Interim Superintendent Dr. Nicholas Dyno said it can take the last bus 15 to 20 minutes to finally leave the school grounds because of the traffic.

School officials met with village and town officials as well as the Village Police to come up with alternative routes.

One idea was to make Pine Street a two-way street, but because the street shrinks in width as one heads south, that was not ideal. Officials also looked into adding a traffic officer at the intersection of Pine Street and Hampton Road, but decided that would not solve the problem with the volume of cars.

Because Little Plains Road is already a two-way road, using that route seemed like a practical solution, officials said. Buses will be allowed only to travel one way on the strip of parking lot at the southern edge of the school property, and drivers will not be able to enter the parking lot from Little Plains Road.

Mr. Urban said only 10 buses of the 16 to 18 that serve the school will use the route.

Elementary School Gym Work

The board also approved spending $14,600 to repair masonry at the Southampton Elementary School.

Franklin Square-based Pella General Construction Corp will repair a portion of the concrete crown molding near the roof line of the gym that is crumbling, and a safety net is in place to prevent pieces from falling and hitting anyone.

The money for the project will come from the district’s repair reserve fund.

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Yeah why suspend him no one else on the faculty seems to follow protocol. In fact the last superintentant broke protocol and maybe the law and he got 300k. wow
By chief1 (2800), southampton on Aug 31, 16 1:13 PM
6 members liked this comment
Give me a break! I know coach West and he is a good man. He did the right
thing with that student athlete. Let him coach and mentor those players on the
By Jimion (129), Hampton Bays on Aug 31, 16 5:41 PM
Coach West is a great mentor, good man, and a great role model for the student athletes. I would like to know how anyone knew what was in the bag. It wasn't tested by any law enforcement officer that I am aware of. Did the Superintendent or the Athletic director test it. I guess we just ASS U ME it was a drug and just Suspend a great Coach. Shame on the board.
By guest (68), Bridgehampton on Aug 31, 16 6:42 PM
1 member liked this comment
You can't be serious! I don't think he should be suspended, but I also don't think there's any chance that what he allegedly flushed wasn't marijuana.
By S'hamptonNative (84), Southampton on Aug 31, 16 7:45 PM
1 member liked this comment
Of course it was pot, and good for Ed! First of all, it's pot, not heroin or crystal meth, it's basically cigarettes in four states now and will be in New York in a few years. Second of all, a coach that reprimands one of his players and shows the proper outrage for their behavior teaches that child a much more effective lesson than calling the police and Southampton's childish administrators. Shame on you board members is right.
By em (51), sagaponack on Sep 1, 16 10:22 AM
2 members liked this comment
I respect coach Eddie West. He is a GOOD man. He keeps it real. He's no dummy, like the PC folks he might work for. He has been an awesome coach and mentor to my kids. There are so many others in the Southampton District that should be disciplined, but not Eddie.
By Lets go mets (377), Southampton on Aug 31, 16 7:32 PM
Maybe it wasn't the best choice not to report the incident to administration but I have faith in Eddies judgment.
By toes in the water (884), southampton on Aug 31, 16 7:50 PM
1 member liked this comment
Suspend the student from the football team, not the coach. Oh, maybe his parents are influential or he is a big player.
Go to where the problem started.
By knitter (1941), Southampton on Aug 31, 16 8:26 PM
Does anyone else remember a time when something like this being handled in the manner it was would be a non-issue?

My, how things have changed. And, not for the better.
By Mr. Z (11847), North Sea on Aug 31, 16 9:06 PM
Maybe he's just old school and didn't want to ruin a young life for something that's already legal in so many states. He gets up in front of everyone makes a point and it does more for inspiring a young adult than just throwing an old book at him. I remember a cop did that for me once with beers at the beach and I said you know what he cares more than just getting another notch on his belt.
By lirider (288), Hampton Bays on Aug 31, 16 11:22 PM
Coach Carter
Freedom Writers
Stand & Deliver
Lean on Me

Just a few movies based on true stories about inspirational teachers and coaches who had a profound affect on their students.... who changed their lives for the better. Eddie is that kind of guy!! ! Students go much farther in life when they have someone who believes in them !
By toes in the water (884), southampton on Sep 1, 16 7:47 AM
1 member liked this comment
Eddie West is a real coach. He expects the best from his players both on and off the field. Football teaches discipline. Coach West did the right thing.

By Draggerman (955), Southampton on Sep 1, 16 11:11 AM
Maybe it wasn't the PC way but seems to me that there were a lot less problems w/EVERYTHING in the 80s and 90s than there are going forward w/all of our advancements. Coach Ed is a good, moral, stand-up citizen. My gut is that he got through to the kid more than having him suspended and ostracized. It also seems to me, with the help of the media, that we are so quick to jump on and judge everybody for a mild mistake before we publicly thank and acknowledge them for the countless hours and inspiration ...more
By beachgirl70 (7), Southampton on Sep 1, 16 11:33 AM
2 members liked this comment
Sounds like he handled it exactly the way I'd want him to handle it if he were dealing with my kid. Would be nice if the board did the right thing for once and commended the man for his judgment and moved on. We'll see.
By Dafsgirl (64), Southampton on Sep 1, 16 11:39 AM
1 member liked this comment
For everyone saying "what's the big deal, he did the right thing", I argue that you're wrong.

I have no problem with how he confronted the team, told the kid to choose pot or football and even flushed it. I don't see it as a reason to get police involved. If pot were legal in NY, it would be no different them him finding a pack of smokes on the kid - against the rules certainly, but not a major offense.

But you're forgetting the reason that the Board suspended him - he failed ...more
By Nature (2966), Southampton on Sep 1, 16 12:14 PM
1 member liked this comment
I do get where u are coming from , I do . But this Coach is loved not only by his athletes, but the community as well and for a very good reason. He is a genuinely GOOD person. This day in age, with having marijuana used medicinally , its a far cry from heroin, guns or sexual abuse. Yes , I know its still illegal but I feel suspension is way too harsh. He does NOT have a bad record so how about probation ?

The positive comments about Eddie will continue to come in. Maybe it will help ...more
By toes in the water (884), southampton on Sep 1, 16 12:55 PM
1 member liked this comment
Yes! I see your points, and I am not speaking out of both sides of my mouth. It wasn't handled correctly...perhaps he was afraid, he didn't think, and perhaps there has to be a temporary suspension so these things don't continue to happen, or other things get "covered up".
Had that been a teacher, forget it, they would be fired.
I think the public probably feels frustrated w/so many bigger things that haven't been disclosed in the district, thus the "not a big deal" attitude bc he's "such ...more
By beachgirl70 (7), Southampton on Sep 1, 16 1:13 PM
I'm so SICK and TIRED of hearing "Didn't follow protocol" The School district doesn't follow protocol - they allow so much nonsense to go on everyday at that school and it all has been brought to their attention. The school district "doesn't want a "bad" name. These kids have been allowed to basically run the school, they come and go and smoke pot and get drunk on school grounds. A ZERO TOLERANCE policy should be a ZERO TOLORANCE policy period. If these kids knew that every single time they ...more
By mychildmatters (70), SOUTHAMPTON on Sep 1, 16 1:51 PM
iinteresting. I think this incident distracts people from the larger problems the district has.
By metsfan2 (163), southampton on Sep 1, 16 1:18 PM
This right here clearly speaks to a larger problem in the entire educational system, in that teachers are no longer given the authority to discipline as they see fit for offenses that are not ground-breaking or life-threatening. Those who have been charged with educating and mentoring the youth are now forced to CYA in every aspect of their role. Whether it be test scores, standardized metrics, or in this case choosing to deal with a disciplinary situation in a swift and effective manner, which ...more
By Mouthampton (439), Southampton on Sep 1, 16 2:14 PM
1 member liked this comment
The district is a mess. A little pot is the least of the problems for the faculty of Southampton.
By chief1 (2800), southampton on Sep 1, 16 3:26 PM
Instead of going to have to coach of the West, why don't we find out what that real loser Scott Farina was up to. Oh, I forgot, he's a big time administrator. Coach Eddie West is 10 times the man that Farina and that other thing, the rap video lady, could ever be
By Lets go mets (377), Southampton on Sep 1, 16 3:45 PM
1 member liked this comment
Instead of going to have to coach of the West, why don't we find out what that real loser Scott Farina was up to. Oh, I forgot, he's a big time administrator. Coach Eddie West is 10 times the man that Farina and that other thing, the rap video lady, could ever be
By Lets go mets (377), Southampton on Sep 1, 16 3:45 PM
1 member liked this comment
In this situation, I think the coach's actions were understandable. At this age, a high school athlete often has more respect for his coach than his parents or other authorities. I bet this had more impact than a parent's reprimand. I would guess that if the student had tried this again, the coach would indeed have approached the parents and administration. As a parent, I would say- let this go with a reprimand!
By fishcove (39), southampton on Sep 1, 16 8:48 PM
3 members liked this comment
The Southampton School District should thank their lucky stars to have Eddie West as a coach. The point has been made: report the incident. Praise the coach for how he handled it. Find out more about the offender and reach out to help him. A reprimand is enough. Reinstate Coach West!
By Hamptonsseashell (359), on Sep 1, 16 11:53 PM
Has the school board made a decision?
By metsfan2 (163), southampton on Sep 2, 16 12:25 AM
I say fire him and give him 300k for breaking the rules.
By chief1 (2800), southampton on Sep 2, 16 7:53 AM
What is it about everyone? Drugs and alcohol is illegal for children. Maybe a little cocaine is ok too. Would you want the coaches, teachers and principals only smoking a little pot, have a couple cocktails while teaching??? Get real people...
By knitter (1941), Southampton on Sep 2, 16 10:13 AM
Knitter - Did you even read the story? At no time did the coach say it was OK. In fact he clearly said the opposite. He took a teachable moment and in front of his team gave them a positive lesson.

On the other hand I understand why the board would suspend him. It's a liability thing. If the same kid a month from now gets into an accident after smoking a joint, some ambulance chaser is going to sue the school district and given the stupidity of our legal system they would probably win.
By bird (829), Sag Harbor on Sep 2, 16 11:31 AM
This is the school board that was promoting an $ 8 million administration building? Who needs to take whom to task here?
By Toma Noku (616), Southampton on Sep 2, 16 11:28 AM
1 member liked this comment
Bird, what happened to the student? Football star, parents connected or senior last year???
By knitter (1941), Southampton on Sep 2, 16 5:42 PM
Was it "protocol" when they gave a former superintendent 300k to **** off?
By Mr. Z (11847), North Sea on Sep 5, 16 8:31 PM
1 member liked this comment
Coach did the right thing.
By johnj (1024), Westhampton on Sep 6, 16 4:05 PM
1 member liked this comment
I have known Eddie West since he was in 6th grade. Eddie's athletic prowess in this community at a very early age, rooted this man a lifelong interest in helping young athletes in this same community turn into men; irregardless of color, financial backgrounds, entitlements, past reputations or any subgroup you may want to choose...Coach West would have made them better or at the very least, tried like hell. Eddie always called it as he saw it, but thematically deep down, was always there for ...more
By retiree (1), riverhead on Sep 7, 16 7:08 PM
2 members liked this comment