Students support teacher's non-renewal - WECT, weather & sports Wilmington, NC

Students support teacher's non-renewal

Students are using their voices to speak out against a New Hanover County teacher. Students are using their voices to speak out against a New Hanover County teacher.

Students dressed in blue Tuesday morning and stood in front of Ashley High School to speak out against former basketball coach David Rutledge.

It was announced last month he would no longer be the basketball coach at Ashley High School.

Several students said he was too aggressive and did not agree with his coaching style.

The New Hanover County School Board will soon decide if Rutledge will be able to return to the high school as a teacher next year.

Sophomore Ryan Keller said if Rutledge returns he will transfer to another school.

"We're just trying to get the school board's attention," Keller said. "I know they've been hearing a lot of one side, and they obviously need to be able to make a good decision based on both sides of the story so they need to hear everything."

Keller had Rutledge as a coach and said he did not enjoy his time playing basketball this year.

"I lost a little bit of love for basketball after this season," Keller explained. "I mean each practice was dreadful and there were tons of times I wish I didn't have to go."

Junior Kaylie Kirkwood was in Rutledge's Psychology class and said Rutledge did not need to remain at the school. 

"I don't have respect for him as a teacher, and I think that all of his students fear him so there are very few students out here today," Kirkwood noted. "I thought my voice should be heard as a student."

Ashley parent Nick Saffo was at the rally supporting Rutledge. He was met with some friction, but wanted his voice to be heard.

"I'm disgruntled with the way the A.D. is handling this and the principal, does that mean I need to go against them and get their job? No that's just not the way it works," Saffo said. "All this originated from a couple of families, disgruntled because their kids didn't get enough playing time."

"It is disappointing that there is no protection for teachers against slander," said Rutledge in a statement released to WECT. "Parents who are motivated by playing time complaints have repeatedly made false accusations that were proven untrue by the administration."

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