Thursday, February 12, 2015

Chris Foley, Weed, and D.A.R.E. Shirts

Scroll down for updates.

Familiar with the D.A.R.E program?

The D.A.R.E. Mission

“Teaching students good decision-making skills to help them lead safe and healthy lives”

The D.A.R.E. Vision

“A world in which students everywhere are empowered to respect others and choose to lead lives free from violence, substance abuse, and other dangerous behaviors.”
It's a school program. Kids participating in it get a t-shirt. It sends a positive message.

You wouldn't think that D.A.R.E. t-shirts would be controversial. You wouldn't expect students to be penalized for wearing the shirts.  But, add a teacher arrested for possession of marijuana to the mix and the controversy stirs. 

From FOX6 News:
New Berlin West High School boys basketball coach Christopher Foley has been arrested — accused of possession of marijuana. He was arrested on Friday, February 6th.

Foley has been placed on administrative leave, pending an investigation. He hasn’t yet been criminally charged.

In a letter sent home to parents, New Berlin School District officials explained that a staff member was arrested on Friday night for “possession of illegal substances.”

New Berlin police say boys basketball coach Christopher Foley was arrested on three drug-related charges. He was booked and released on Friday night, according to police.

The alleged incident apparently happened after a game.

New Berlin School District officials say they suspected a staff member was in possession of illegal substances, and police were called immediately. Investigators say the drug was marijuana.
From MuskegoNOW:
The situation was explained in a letter to the parents by Jordan Napoli, the athletic and activities director.

“Last Friday evening, New Berlin West administrators suspected a staff member was in possession of illegal substances. We immediately contacted the New Berlin Police Department. The individual, whose responsibilities were as a special education assistant and boys basketball coach, was arrested Friday evening.

We are extremely disappointed in the alleged activities of this individual. The School District of New Berlin is committed to employing staff members who serve as positive role models for our students. Illegal substances have no place in our schools or by any staff member.”

The individual has been placed on administrative leave until further action is taken by the school district.”
So, we have a teacher, Chris Foley, arrested for possession of marijuana.

He was placed on administrative leave, meaning he isn't serving in his role as basketball coach for New Berlin West.

Brandon Mattox has been appointed interim boys basketball coach at New Berlin West High School to replace coach Christopher Foley....

Mattox took over the team for Tuesday night’s game at Eisenhower.
This story was widely reported in local media. It was no secret. All of southeastern Wisconsin had access to information about Foley's arrest.

It's certainly something that students would be discussing.

After all, a teacher/coach doesn't get arrested for pot possession every day. (That's a good thing.)

At Tuesday's basketball game between rivals New Berlin West and New Berlin Eisenhower, Chris Foley's behavior was an issue.

Mark Belling discussed the matter on his radio show yesterday.

According to Belling, students from Eisenhower wore D.A.R.E. shirts at the game. Others wore tie-dye shirts. It was a light-hearted display in response to Foley's arrest. Note that the suspended coach, Foley, wasn't at the game.

No big deal, right?


The New Berlin Eisenhower principal didn't appreciate the students' creativity and school spirit. She ordered the students to cover their shirts or leave the game. Most students chose to leave.

Since officials didn't respond to Belling's inquiries, avoiding all questions, he only had the students' side of the story.

Based on Belling's telling of events, I think the principal overreated. If the only thing the students did was sit there wearing D.A.R.E. gear, I don't think they should have been told to cover their shirts or leave.

Students are encouraged to participate in the program.  A D.A.R.E. shirt is not offensive. It's not insulting.

Yes, the kids used the shirts to highlight Foley's arrest.

So what?

It was a little jab at a rival, yet simulatenously presenting an anti-drug use message.

Would it be better to pretend Foley wasn't arrested? Would it have been better for the students to don shirts gently supporting weed use, something like a shirt promoting our beloved Richard Bong State Recreation Area, to stand in solidarity with Foley and their New Berlin Ike brethren? Would that have been to the principal's liking? Would that have been a display of good sportsmanship?

"Illegal substances have no place in our schools or by any staff member."

Apparently, D.A.R.E t-shirts also have no place in the New Berlin schools.

Perhaps the t-shirts are only permitted to be worn when no teachers or school staff members are on adminstrative leave for possession of illicit drugs.

For whatever reason, New Berlin is currently a no D.A.R.E. zone.

UPDATE, February 12, 2015: On Mark Belling's Thursday program, he read emails he received from two students responsible for organizing the D.A.R.E. shirt plan.

According to those students, they were NOT given the option to cover their shirts. They were simply told to leave, without explanation.

That makes this even worse.

The students did nothing but wear D.A.R.E. or tie-dye shirts. That was reason enough for school authorities to eject them.

Also, these kids are not "problem" kids. They're good students.

Apparently, school officials have been harassing these "super fans" all year.

No teachers or school officials from New Berlin Eishenhower have contacted Belling or responded to his requests for comments.


UPDATE, February 20, 2015: New Berlin West High School basketball coach, Christopher Foley, in trouble again!


Anonymous said...

I don't know that students from Eisenhower needed to be taking a snarky jab at students from West. It isn't the West students' fault that their coach is an idiot. It's pretty sad that those kids have to deal with losing a head coach during the season - especially any seniors on the team. Isn't that bad enough - hasn't there been enough of an impact to the kids on the West team or is it necessary to rub it in a little?

Mary said...

It is tough that the West kids lost their coach, but that's on him.

I hope the kids from West weren't crushed just because some Eisenhower students wore D.A.R.E. shirts. They can't be that fragile. If they are, that should be the cause for concern.