Trey Porter, the athletic director and football coach at Roosevelt High School in St. Louis, was fired Wednesday for violating school policy by contacting his players through social media.
As reported by CBS affiliate KMOV, the school district’s handbook bans employees from connecting with students and former students on social media. “The rule is the rule. I was following not the letter of the law but the spirit. In this case, my kids were my best interest,” Porter said.
Porter said the contact was made to check up on student-athletes, and that the chosen medium was out of necessity.
“It was typically for reaching out to the players and keeping up with the safety,” Porter said. “We focus a lot on mental health. A lot of my players don’t have cell phones, but they have wi-fi hot spots. They use Facebook to call.”
St. Louis Alderwoman Christine Ingrassia, who disagrees with Porter’s firing, sent a letter highlighting the coach’s positive impact on and off the field.
“I don’t believe it rises to the level of a fireable offense and that’s because of how much work he has put in for the school and the kids,” Ingrassia said. “That should have been taken into consideration.”
KMOV quoted two sophomore girls at Roosevelt as feeling for the team members Porter leaves behind. “He was like a role model and father figure to the kids,” said Courtanae Mitchell. Mikaya Jones added, “They are heart-broken. He did everything for them. Fed them. Clothed them.”