Coach claims discrimination at South Cobb
by John Bednarowski
July 15, 2014 04:00 AM | 12461 views | 31 31 comments | 27 27 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Geoff Pastrick
<Br>Photo by Rick Winters/Douglas County Sentinel
Geoff Pastrick
Photo by Rick Winters/Douglas County Sentinel
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Barbara Swinney
Barbara Swinney
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MARIETTA — Former South Cobb football coach Geoff Pastrick intends to file suit against the Cobb School District for racial discrimination.

His attorney, Justin O’Dell, said he has already filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission on Pastrick’s behalf and is currently waiting for the commission’s reply.

Pastrick, 37, was hired as the new football coach at South Cobb High School by Principal Ashley Hosey on March 21, but his employment was rescinded on April 18 by assistant superintendent Barbara Swinney.

Between those two dates, Pastrick, who also worked as an assistant coach at Hillgrove and McEachern high schools, said he resigned his position as head coach at Chapel Hill High School in Douglas County to begin work with the Eagles program immediately. He was given a key to the facilities at South Cobb, had begun putting together his coaching staff and filled out all necessary paper work to begin booster club fundraising.

O’Dell said the school district pointed to a December 2011 unsatisfactory evaluation Pastrick had been given for why he could not be hired, but O’Dell does not believe that to be the real reason.

“If I subpoena the employment files for every coach in Cobb County do you think there may be one more with an unsatisfactory evaluation?” O’Dell asked. “What (information) did Swinney get that principal (Hosey) did not?”

He said that is why he has filed the discrimination complaint.

“What else could it be?” O’Dell said.

Since South Cobb began playing football in 1952, only one of the 12 coaches that preceded Pastrick was black — Michael Youngblood, who was hired in the spring of 2013. Youngblood resigned after one season. After Swinney, who is black, disallowed Pastrick’s hire, Sherrod Rainge, an assistant coach at the school, was promoted and became the second black coach in the program’s history.

The Cobb School District was asked for comment, but communications director Jay Dillon said the district could not comment on specific personnel matters.

Unfortunately for Pastrick, all of this could have been avoided. When he applied for the job, Pastrick had to go online and fill out numerous pages of background information into the STAR — Strategic Applicant Recruitment — system. The system is used to aid the human relations department and flag potential issues with a candidate’s application.

Once an applicant’s information passes STAR, a human relations supervisor is supposed to approve it before a principal or a hiring manager begins the interview process.

“That is correct,” Dillon said. “That is the way the procedure is supposed to work.”

If the system worked the way it was intended, Pastrick would not have immediately resigned his position at Chapel Hill and would still be employed there today.

Instead, on March 27, six days after Pastrick started working without a contract, Cobb School District human resources started to take a closer look as his application, and a lengthy email conversation began between Tim Baker, the executive director of employment, Hosey and Swinney.

“Are you OK with hiring Geoff Pastrick as a PE Teacher?” Baker asked Swinney. “In 2011-2012, he received an overall unsatisfactory of (principal) Regina Montgomery at McEachern.”

Pastrick, while teaching special education students, did receive an unsatisfactory evaluation. McEachern assistant principal Ashley Campoli had stated in her report that there were problems with his lesson plans and tardiness. She also said Pastrick did not assume responsibility for professional growth, interact in a respectful, civil and professional manner with students, families, staff and school leaders and that he did not actively support the School Strategic Plan.

Pastrick said it was the first and only unsatisfactory evaluation he has had in 14 years of teaching and coaching, and that it was given to him on Dec. 21, 2011, more than a month (Nov. 11) after he turned in his letter of resignation to Montgomery. On the evaluation form signed by Pastrick, Montgomery and Campoli, Pastrick said “I don’t agree with this evaluation. I will be appealing with Cobb County Schools.”

He followed with a written rebuttal to the evaluation, dated Jan. 17, 2012. To date, Pastrick said his appeal has never been resolved.

Later, on the 27th, Swinney emailed Hosey asking if he had talked with Montgomery about Pastrick and his previous employment.

“Yes,” Hosey said. “She was the first person I spoke with. He was in Special Ed. We are using him in PE. I spoke to his current principal and athletic director as well.”

Fifteen days later, on April 7, Swinney asked Baker for a copy of Pastrick’s evaluation. The following day, Swinney told Hosey the district could not hire his new football coach.

“Hi Ashley!” Swinney said. “After reviewing the evaluation of Mr. Pastrick, I cannot approve of hiring this candidate. Please call me for further discussion. Thanks!”

Ten days later, Pastrick was relieved of his duties.

O’Dell said the Cobb County School District screwed up, but instead of sitting down with them to try and work out an amicable agreement, the district stonewalls them at each turn. They said this was why they filed the complaint.

“In a perfect world, (Pastrick) would be the head coach at South Cobb,” O’Dell said. The next best thing would be to find a position, any position coaching in the county, and then if a job opens up, allow him to interview for it.”

Pastrick remains unemployed. Efforts to find any coaching job have proved fruitless, including becoming a community coach, and he is currently weighing all options — including moving to a different county or out of state.

“I’ve come to the realization I’m not going to be coaching in the fall and that’s tough,” Pastrick said. “And I probably won’t be able to coach in Cobb County anymore.”

Comments
(31)
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Former SC football
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August 01, 2014
Hosey is terrible!!!!! He said it right at graduation..... It's time. For him to leave. He is unable of obtaining and/or retaining excellence in his hiring practices. The school continues to under perform under his dismal leadership. If HR and the Area Superintendent can't see that.....
Same old same old
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July 23, 2014
Glover Street will never change. Chalk this one up to oversight and the right hand not knowing what the left is doing. Pastrick is just the unemployed casualty of this. So unfortunate.
Former CCSD Admin
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July 22, 2014
Dr. Sweeney is an excellent educator. She is hands on with her admin staff at the schools she oversees. As a former admin at one of her schools I saw her more in the schools than I have ever seen of any Asst Sup. She has high expectations for the people that work for her. If he has an unsatisfactory evaluation that is a cause for him not to be hired. I applaud Sweeney for being active in the hiring process of admins and teachers when appropriate.
Samuel Kelley
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July 24, 2014
But, he had already been hired....then it was illegally withdrawn. That is the point here.
First Hire
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July 21, 2014
I was Dr. Swinney's first hire as a principal in Cobb County. I am a white man. I came from another county with great evaluations and 14 years of experience. I still work in Cobb County and have seen nothing but the best from her. She has always been supportive of me. I've even been able to see her in her new role as assistant superintendent. She has always been professional in any dealings with me and my family. Mr. Pastrick will not be able to win a case against her on race.
Cobber
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July 22, 2014
Mr Principal

It's not about 14 years ago and your hire. She screwed up and is standing behind a policy that doesn't exist. What other reason is there? We all make mistakes she just made a large one that blew up publically.

Karma 2.0
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July 19, 2014
Job Abandonment!!! Yal so quick to pull the race card?? If you break a contract as a teacher don't get mad if they don't let you back. Then want to cry race and got all yal believing it. It doesn't matter what color you are. He walked away and turned his back on his kids but nobody is bringing that up. What about the kids he left behind at Mceachern and Chapel Hill by abandoning his job? Most of them were black students
anonymous
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July 22, 2014
Resigning is not job abandonment and my son who was at mceachern surely didn't feel like he left them! He still looks up to Coach P! The ignorance of some!
KARMA1.1
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July 19, 2014
Sweeney is causing havoc because she is unhappy at her home. She should discuss her marital issues with her cheating husband and stop punishing men. Also, Montgomery as usual hiding behind one of her APs. She enjoys destroying careers. Black women and "perceived power" dangerous. They should phone some friends in APS. KARMA does not discriminate.
Cobb Teacher
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July 19, 2014
Bottom line is that Pastrick left Mceachern and broke his contract with the county in the middle of the year. Every teacher in the county (really the state) knows that if you make the choice to walk away in the middle of a school year they will never allow you to return. It doesn't matter who you are or your color and he knew that. This has nothing to do with race.
fan2014
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July 16, 2014
Unfortunately for Pastrick, all of this could have been avoided. When he applied for the job, "Pastrick had to go online and fill out numerous pages of background information into the STAR — Strategic Applicant Recruitment — system. The system is used to aid the human relations department and flag potential issues with a candidate’s application."

So did he or did he not fill out STAR stuff?

Principal Hosey is the one to blame. He doesn't have a real good track record of hiring coaches. First, he fires the only coach in school history to win a playoff game, then he hires a guy with no HC experience who punches people, then doesn't clear his next hire with the main office before telling him to start working.

Read more: The Marietta Daily Journal - Coach claims discrimination at South Cobb
West Cobber
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July 17, 2014
Read the article, it states he did fill out STAR. You can't even get an interview or apply unless you go thru STAR. The only person that blocked the hire was Barbara. As several people know, Cobb has no policy that says you can't be hired for one unsat over your career. I hope the county gets this sorted out prior to an attorney pulling public records on employees of Cobb. The HR department needs to get this fixed ASAP, and to think we thought Glover St would get better with a new superintendent and Head of HR.
southcobbfam
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July 16, 2014
This coach was absolutely let go because of race. The info regarding his evaluation from several years ago would have little to no bearing on his consideration becuase it was not recent. Plus, I know plenty of people with low evaluations who are still employed or transferred in Cobb. I am so disappointed for the coach and hope he gets an opportunity to beat South Cobb in the future. Funny how this happened at South Cobb and Campbell in the same year.
Cobb Teacher
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July 19, 2014
You obviously have no teaching experience. This has nothing to do with race but has everything to do with him abandoning his job and kids @ McEachern. As a teacher you never break a contract in the middle of the year or risk the chance of never being able to return. He did the same thing @ Chapel Hill and he will never be allowed to return to Douglass County either.
How Crazy
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July 15, 2014
To the one person here who is standing up for Sweeney - please get your facts correct. When you say she is not allowed to hire someone with a bad evaluation, there is no such policy. Area Assistant Superintendents don't get involved in the hiring process of teachers and coaches - only if they want to block someone - and she obviously did. Sweeney dresses well, looks good in her shoes, and knows absolutely nothing! If this is not taken care of quickly, Ragsdale will not survive. I hope someone is looking for one of those director of handbook jobs for her and while you are at it - find something for Gaddis too - director of sexual advancement seems fair.
SC Parent
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July 15, 2014
I currently have a child at South Cobb and I can think of about a dozen teachers, plus at least one counselor that should be canned pronto! Mediocrity seems to be a reason for retention at South Cobb.

The Magnet program and its teachers on the other hand are excellent.
anonymous
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July 15, 2014
Government.

Do not ever expect it to be done correctly.

Do not ever expect the right thing to be done.

Do expect to be forced to fight your way out of the bag.
west cobb parent
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July 15, 2014
This is the most ridiculous thing I have ever seen. Coach Pastrick is a fine wonderful coach, mentor and teacher. Cobb County School Board Members are all idiots.
goodluckcoach
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July 15, 2014
Well, it's about time! Coach Pastrick is going to win this case and Coach Harris Rainbow should join in and win his case, too. It's absolutely deplorable how these men are being treated. Racism goes both ways! I can't wait to see how this will play out.
Current CCSD Employe
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July 15, 2014
Cobb has no policy on not hiring someone with one unsat review! Their is more to this story. 14 years all positive reviews except after he turns in his resignation? HMMMMMM Come on CCSD. May be interesting once his attorney subpoena's the county records on the other coaches.
Former Student
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July 15, 2014
Best Coach I have ever had - taught our team about football but most importantly about life. I hope he will be able to use his gift soon. Such a disservice to the students of Cobb County.
Oh MY......
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July 15, 2014
This is going to cost our school system a little money. Really, can you people on Glover Street not get it together! Where was HR in this process? Obviously the left hand knows not what the right hand is up to. Ragsdale, get control of this.
Good Bye to Swinney
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July 15, 2014
I don't know what has happened here - but I'm tired of hearing Swinney's name associated with discourse among this district. She's a bad seed that needs to be plowed away. With what I know about CCSD's hiring procedures - this should never had happened. Ashley Hosey is a stand up man and Swinney should trust her principals.
Bobby99
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July 15, 2014
Swinney should be fired. Discrimination is just that. It is obvious where she stands and there is no room for that in the Cobb School System. If the situation was reversed, the white asst. Supt. would be fired. If need be, a petition should be started and the school board needs to take action to fire her. I was in the business world for 50 years and this type of action would get you fired in a second.
moliere
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July 15, 2014
While it appears that Pastrick was wronged, his racial discrimination suit is out of line, and would not have been filed had Swinney not been black. Swinney had no discretion here: she is not allowed to hire someone who has an unsatisfactory evaluation. A white male would have had to make the same decision. By filing a racial discrimination suit, Pastrick is making Swinney out to be the culprit when the real issue is the person who gave him the unsatisfactory evaluation. Basically Swinney is going to get dragged through the mud for performing due diligence (the principal dropped the ball), making a tough decision (deciding to go against the principal rather than rubber stamping her superior's move) and doing her job.

Instead of making Swinney out to be something that she is not - and in a community that fears and despises the political establishment down I-75 and as a result is all to willing to believe and embrace such things - Pastrick should have filed his complaint against the person who gave him the unsatisfactory evaluation.
response
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July 15, 2014
Per the article- Pastrick DID appeal the evaluation and Cobb DIDN'T follow the DUE PROCESS on the appeal. It is not a Cobb policy to not hire based on one bad evaluation. If this is a policy I hope Cobb has no other teachers or coaches with an unsat or they should not have been hired either. From my understanding, several people were a part of the interview process including the county AD- Steve Jones and he oked the hire. CCSD has made Coach Pastrick unemployed and unemployable on no grounds. No policy=alternate reason for non hire!
.HUH?
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July 15, 2014
TO: moliere, can you read?
Wrong altogether
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July 16, 2014
Swinney had no right in firing this man because of one review back from 2011. He appealed it the review, but the school board has dropped the ball. It is evident that CCSD will not repremand blacks, because they are allowing Dr. Angela Huff to keep her position after having a teacher complete some of her specialist degree work, yet someone else in that was fired. It does become a racial issue when everyone is not treated fairly. Rules are rules, and the district needs to follow proper procedures no matter what race you are. They should give him his job back and let Swinney go!
know your facts
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July 16, 2014
You clearly have no sense of the facts in this case. It's all Swinney's fault that this happened, and there is NO OTHER REASON for her to deny his hiring. His evaluation from three years ago was appealed (and never resolved because he left the district), and since he's been employed and earning satisfactory evaluations, that old one has no impact on his application. For him to be vetted at the school and then denied weeks later clearly shows she had an agenda. What other agenda is there that is so transparent in the South Cobb area right now? Ask any teacher at Campbell or South Cobb, and they will tell you most things are being decided by certain demographics right now, not by the quality or experience of the people.
But it worked
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July 17, 2014
Pastrick played the right hand. The county has dragged their feet on his appeal, so taking this route was much quicker.
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