The parent of a Meeker High School student addressed the Meeker Board of Education Monday night airing her concerns about her daughter’s treatment as a member of the high school football team.
Robin Miller, during the public comments portion of the meeting, told the board she is a parent of two students in the Meeker School District and her daughter Lauren is a sophomore.
She pointed out to the board members some of the requirements under Title IX that she said states “no person shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, be treated differently from another person or otherwise be discriminated against in any interscholastic, intercollegiate, club or intramural athletics offered by a recipient and no recipient shall provide any such athletics separately on such basis.”
Miller, who also is one of two candidates running for an unexpired 4-year term on the Board of Education in the April General Election, noted, “I feel my daughter Lauren was not given equitable treatment during the two years she has played high school football.
“Lauren was forgotten outside the locker room on numerous occasions after practice concluded while her teammates were addressed inside,” Miller claimed, further stating, “She would often have to text her teammates to see if it was ok to come in and listen to the coach.”
Miller said, “She was also never added to high school football communications and had to message her teammates to find out times and places she needed to be. At the end of last season, Lauren was left outside in the cold during halftime at the Chandler game,” she added.
She finished addressing the board by saying, “Given recent developments concerning the high school head football coach position, I implore you to investigate Title IX requirements when either hiring outside or promoting from within. My daughter fully intends to finish out her high school career playing football and I feel she should be afforded the accommodations required by Title IX regulations.”
Meeker Head Football Coach DJ Howell, contacted on Tuesday for his response to Miller’s comments, said, “I categorically deny any type of discrimination by myself during my time at Meeker High School.”
Later in the meeting, the board accepted the resignation of Howell, which was on the board agenda.
The board is not allowed to respond to the public comments in the meeting.
Following Miller’s comments, board members continued with the agenda and voted to go into executive session at 6:46 p.m. to discuss several personnel items.
After returning to open session, they approved offering School Supt. Jeff Pruitt a contract for the 2021-2022 school year.
They also approved the resignation of Howell as coach and high school teacher and High School Teacher Becki Powell.
Board members also approved the employment of Billy Jones as Middle School Custodian.
During their reports, High School Principal Brad Buxton told board members, “We’ve gained four new students at the high school since the start of the second semester.” He also talked about the number of activities going on this month.
Enrollment at the high school totals 223 at one site and 10 at the other site.
Middle School Dean of Students Virgil Fowler advised the board, “Our enrollment is up by eight since the start of the second semester.”
Figures he provided the board show 135 total students enrolled in grades 6-8 with 17 of those virtual.
Candace Gatz, Elementary School Principal, said, “We are gaining a few students.” Total enrollment is 316 and of those 17 are virtual, she said.
She further advised the PTO provided a ham for all staff members for Christmas.
Ginger Pritchard, Meeker Education Center/Alt. Ed Principal, said, “Overall, we have 133 students K-12 that are taking advantage of the virtual and blended learning opportunities since last semester.
“Needless to say the virtual and blended situation is dynamic. Although we had several students return to traditional learning, we had a net gain of 17 high school students moved to Blended. We have had 24 high school students move from traditional to Blended, five just today (Monday),” she added.
Pritchard noted, “I don’t know what tomorrow will bring, a lot depends on the COVID. The numbers are going up.”