Elba E Claw

During a special called meeting Monday morning, Sept. 30, the Elba Board of Education voted to accept the resignation of Pate Harrison as a physical education teacher and head football coach at Elba High School. Superintendent Chris Moseley recommended the board accept the resignation from Harrison. Board member Matt Brunson asked if all paperwork was in order, and Moseley responded with a yes. Brunson made a motion to accept the resignation, and board member DeAnn Grantham seconded that motion. It passed by a 4-1 vote. Board members voting in favor of the motion were Brunson, Grantham, Gladys Yelverton and board chairman Greg Sowell. The lone no vote came from board member Kristy Astemborski. Moseley said Glen Johnson would remain the head coach for the Elba Tigers football program in the interim as the school moves forward with this football season. Johnson was named the interim head coach when Harrison was placed on administrative leave Sept. 17th. Following the board’s vote to accept Harrison’s resignation, which settled the matter that had been a big topic in and around Elba since the Sept. 16th incident at a JV football game involving Harrison and a student-athlete [identified as Harrison’s son], board member DeAnn Grantham asked to make a statement. “Since I have been a school board member, I have received more phone calls and outreach from the community on this issue,” she said. “Sometimes our responses may seem automated but just know there sometimes is only so much we [as board members] can say publicly on a matter.” She continued, “I want to state that as a school board member and parent the safety of our students is our number one priority. I think we all can say that.” Grantham did extend a challenge to the community. “Being a community member is more than just showing up to a football game on Friday night,” she said. “We are a school system that has to have the support of the community. That’s more than a phone call with a complaint. As a community member, ask yourself when was the last time you did something to help the school system. You’ve got talents, time, you can donate.” Grantham encouraged community members to reach out to the schools and ask what they can do to help. “Let’s please come together and help make our school system better,” she said. “That’s what I want to come out of this.” Board member Gladys Yelverton also said she had received quite a few comments from parents and citizens regarding the Harrison matter. “I want you to know that I am listening,” Yelverton said. “I think my heart goes one way and my responsibility goes another, but the responsibility is what we have to be concerned with in what is best for our children.” She said that at all times she is trying to do what is best for the children of the Elba City Schools System. “Here, the children must come first,” Yelverton said. “I was tickled to death to hear from you, but I want to hear from you in the good times too. Let’s work together and make our school system the best it can be.” Moseley said to board members that he had meetings set up already with Coach Johnson for Tuesday morning of this week, and he said it was his intentions to let Coach Johnson know the school system is behind him in whatever he needs to move the program forward for the remainder of this football season. The Elba Tigers will travel to Brantley this Friday night, Oct. 4, to meet the Bulldogs in a key region game as both teams currently are undefeated in Class 1A region play.

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