Football coach’s future to be decided in court

A judge will likely decide the case of a Juneau teacher and former football coach, who was fired for his conduct during and after an alleged boxing match between another coach and a student.

Former Floyd Dryden Middle School physical education teacher Bill Byouer wants his job back. Byouer – who also served as Thunder Mountain High School’s head football coach – was dismissed in June 2013, nearly a year after the incident at a Gold Beach, Oregon football camp. John Wahl – then the team’s assistant coach – was recorded on video hitting a student in the back of the head and knocking him down during an impromptu boxing match.

Former Juneau Schools Superintendent Glenn Gelbrich noted in a dismissal letter that Byouer himself sparred with his stepson during the same boxing session. Gelbrich also believed that Byouer did not make a reasonable effort to protect students from conditions that may be harmful to their health and safety, and he did not set an example as a role model. Byouer also did not notify the district administration of the incident until months later, and then dismissed it as “no big deal.” The student returned to football practice in Juneau a few weeks after being knocked out without being medically examined for a possible concussion.

Gelbrich believed Byouer was not truthful or forthcoming during subsequent investigations. An investigator also alleged Byouer engaged in bullying and harassing behavior by calling another student a derogatory name because he had an injury that prevented him from participating in activities at the football camp.

The Juneau School Board later affirmed Byouer’s dismissal as part of standard grievance procedures.

The case went to arbitration, where the arbitrator ruled Byouer should get his job back along with restored seniority, and back pay and benefits. The arbitrator determined the allegations of Byouer lying during the investigation and bullying a student were unproven, but ordered that Byouer be formally reprimanded for misconduct.

In the ruling issued April 28, the arbitrator determined that Byouer should not be reinstated to his position as head coach or receive back pay as a coach, but he can apply for future coaching positions.

The Juneau School District has filed a complaint to vacate the arbitrator’s award. A scheduling hearing was held Tuesday in Juneau Superior Court.

Wahl was acquitted of misdemeanor assault during a one-day trial in Oregon last July.

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