Parents sound off after coach fired for post-game watermelon ritual

Published: Oct. 22, 2014 at 3:17 AM EDT
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NORTH CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Parents are sounding off after the Charleston County School District fired the head coach of Academic Magnet High School.

The district said coach Bud Walpole was fired because a post-game ritual where the team would smash a watermelon was racially insensitive.

Parents disagree and more than 2,500 people have signed a petition online asking to reinstate Walpole.

Tuesday, there were even students protesting the coach's firing at the school with chants and signs

"I just don't understand why the school district is concerned this is an issue," Connie Biggs, the President of Academic Magnet's Booster Club said. "Is it because it's a watermelon? If it had been a pumpkin or a cantaloupe would that have been a different reaction from the district."

Despite the backlash, Charleston County Superintendent Nancy McGinley said the investigation was done properly.

"When there is evidence or strong allegations of wrong-doing, we have to ascertain either that it happened or it didn't happen and do it in a systematic way and that's what this investigation is about," McKinley said.

Biggs said students were pulled out of class for four hours as part of the investigation.

"The school district is not telling us what they said to these kids," Biggs said. "They're giving us two questions that they say that they asked but these interviews have lasted 10-20 minutes apiece, so I'm really unclear how two questions could take that long."

The chairman of the school's improvement council has started talking to Larry Kobrovsky, an attorney who currently has sued the district multiple times before.

Kobrovsky says parents are concerned the district has defamed the reputations of both the school and its students.

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