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The New York Post


A winning South Jersey high school football coach is claiming school officials are trying to force him out because he has too many black players on his team.

Camden Catholic's Nick Strom told the Courier-Post president Mary Whipkey and that principal Heather Crisci broke the news to him Friday afternoon that his contract as a history teacher would not be renewed.

They also asked him to resign as football and golf coach.

"I think this [is] from me not conforming with their viewpoints on what they want the student body and the football team to look like," Strom told the paper. "I've tried to build this program into one that's based on kids being of ability, high character and high grades.

"From Day 1, the administration told me they did not approve of the ratio of black to white students."

Camden Catholic denied the accusations in a statement.

"On Friday, April 27, Camden Catholic High School notified an untenured faculty member that his contract would not be renewed for the 2018-19 school year. We do not comment on personnel matters, but it has come to our attention that he has chosen to muddy the reasons for his dismissal with baseless accusations against the school and administration. Any concern about racism or racial insensitivity is taken seriously and investigated fully."

CBS in Philadelphia reported Strom was fired one day before he got tenure.

According to Strom, the topic of race came up as much as 20 times in conversations with Whipkey since he was hired to run the football program in 2013.

He said when he presented a list of freshmen, the first question was about race.

The embattled coach and teacher said there were occasions when he was asked whether a student came from a single- or two-parent household.

Strom has told the school he won't resign. Since Strong took over, Camden Catholic is 34-6, and 34-2 against South Jersey teams, according to the report.

Students and parents protested outside the school Monday, beginning at 7:30 a.m.

The Courier-Post also reported students walked out in protest.

Strom plans to file a grievance with the union.

In a letter, Whipkey detailed the reasons for the non-renewal.

It included dress violations, disrespect to the president after those violations, leaving class early to prepare to coach golf, leaving class to talk to a college coach and allowing students to leave class early.

He acknowledged the dress violation and having a fellow teacher watch his class to get ready for golf.

"If I'm finished with a test, kids will ask if they can go to the library or go to the AV Club or can they go work with teacher X, Y or Z who might be helping them. Every teacher in the country does this," Strom said.

"All of our bathrooms are locked. There aren't kids just walking around the hallways. They're doing schoolwork. "None of this is remotely close to being egregious."

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May 1, 2018


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