Superintendent recommends 20-day suspension for football coach

by: Mark Winne Updated:


CLAYTON COUNTY, Ga. - Channel 2 Action News has learned the Clayton County head football coach accused of grabbing a student won't face criminal charges.

In a letter obtained by Channel 2 investigative reporter Mark Winne, Superintendent Luvenia Jackson said she recommends a 20-day suspension without pay for Mt. Zion High School's head football coach Ervin Starr.

Starr told Winne he is using the incident as a life lesson for the young men practicing for Friday's season opener.

"I was wrong in that instance. I shouldn't have lost my professional bearing in that situation. I did. I apologize for it," Starr told Winne about the grabbing incident that was caught on video and posted on Channel 2 Action News' Facebook page.

"Was he wrong?" Winne asked Cameron Jones, the 2013 graduate involved in the incident.

"Yes, he was wrong. We were both wrong cause I argued back," Jones answered.

Starr said the most important plays he tries to impress on his Bulldogs are the ones they will use all their lives.

"When things like this come along, you have to man up, be a man of your word, say you did wrong, learn from it, grow from it and hope something positive comes out of it," Starr said. "I apologize to that young man, to his family."

The video shows a nose-to-nose confrontation last spring between then-student Jones and Starr.

Jones said the incident started with a loud argument with another student over a card game where he tried to play peacemaker.

He felt like Starr had teased him for it leading to a confrontation with a teacher Jones had known and respected since middle school.

"I guess he got angry and he proceeded to walk up on me," Jones said about the incident. "I'd just like to see him go back to work… He's a real good man."

Starr says while he believes he deserves some punishment. He is deciding whether the superintendent's recommended 20-day suspension is the right one.

"Mr. Starr has the right to go with the recommendation made by the superintendent or he could decide on a hearing," said Doug Hendrix, Clayton County Schools chief of human resources.

Hendrix told Winne there were administrative and police investigations into the incident.

Police said there was no basis for any criminal charges.

"We were both kind of immature over the fact that it happened or whatever. I just don't want to see him get in trouble," Jones said.

"I hate to put Mt. Zion in that position, my principal, superintendent. And I really didn't want to give the educational system, especially Clayton County's school system, a black eye," Starr said.

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