On October 24th, Morro Bay High School history teacher and head varsity football coach, David Kelly addressed one of his players with inappropriate comments offensive to the LGBTQ community. Kelly was relieved of his position as head football coach, but he retained his teaching position.
The Spyglass interviewed a total of ten students to gauge the campus reaction to Kelly’s comments. Two members of the Sexuality and Gay Alliance club (SAGA) were interviewed, as were two members or former members of Mr. Kelly’s classes and six random students.
Many of Kelly’s previous football players have already made comments on Kelly’s behalf. They voiced their opposition of him being removed as the football coach. This view was shared by students Cade Sokolowski and Sam Clapp, who vehemently expressed their disagreement with the school’s reaction, specifically calling out Dr. Pruitt’s actions in saying that Kelly’s departure was a direct result of his comments, when the team’s record was also a factor.
However, many other students were more moderate in their opinions. Of the six random students asked, two did not know about the event, while another two said that they were somewhat unclear about what had occurred. Both members of SAGA, who wished to remain anonymous, expressed their distaste for Kelley’s actions. One said that they think that “what he said was offensive to a lot of people,” while the other shared that they think that a coach should be supportive of everyone.
Despite this, neither SAGA member had any problems with Kelley remaining at his teaching position, with one even describing the school’s reaction as “harsh,” while the other said that they personally would have talked to him first before firing him from coaching. This sentiment was shared by members or graduates of Kelley’s classes, who also opted not to have their names published. Both said that they were surprised at Kelley’s actions. One student explained this by saying “it was surprising because I know him as such a calm, caring person for his students and his team, but I know he has acted out of anger in the past,” continuing that they believe that the school reacted appropriately.
The Spyglass strongly condemns Coach Kelly’s comments as inappropriate and not consistent with the values and behavior of our school and community. As a coach and teacher, he is expected to model good behavior, which he failed to do. That being said, we do not intend this piece to be a personal attack on Kelley in any way. He is a important part of our school culture and we hope that he, and all those involved, learn and grow from this experience.