EDITORIAL: Time to heal at Central
The Central York School District has some healing to do.
The firing of Brad Livingston as the head coach of the high school's football and boys' volleyball programs has undoubtedly left some scars in the Panther community.
The Central York School Board members know that better than anyone. That's likely why they issued a statement announcing Livingston's dismissal on a Friday afternoon during the holiday season.
In political terms, that's known as a Friday afternoon “dump.”
Most folks are busy on Friday afternoons, especially during the Christmas season. They normally aren't paying close attention to the news. That's why political operatives often like to announce “bad news” during that time period, because it will gain the least amount of news “traction” at that time.
Despite that timing, Friday's announcement still created quite a stir.
The longtime coach has a ton of local supporters, in Central York and throughout York County. There can be no disputing that. It was clearly evident during the public comment periods during the two most recent school board meetings, when dozens of folks came out to speak in favor of keeping Livingston as the head coach of the two programs.
It was even more evident on social media, where Livingston supporters went in droves to vent their frustrations.
That's not to say that Livingston didn't have his critics. Anyone who has been coaching since the 1970s will have detractors.
But there's no disputing that most of the folks who have commented on the issue, either in public or on social media, were upset at the way Livingston was treated. They openly questioned the validity of the continued use of the term "Panther Pride," especially as Livingston was left to twist in the wind for weeks as his future was publicly discussed.
Still, the Central York administration and school board obviously felt it was time to part ways with Livingston. They certainly must have had their reasons, but those reasons will remain unknown, at least publicly.
The school board issued a statement saying it could not, and would not, discuss its decision, which was made in an executive session. The board said it was a matter of law when addressing personnel matters.
At least the board, in its statement, did express gratitude to Livingston for his years of service and did acknowledge the large impact he had on the student-athletes he coached over the decades.
Livingston, for his part, issued his own statement, where he made it clear he wished to remain as coach. However, he also took the high road, making a particular point to thank everyone who had helped make him a success. He expressed no rancor toward the Central community.
Hopefully, those two statements can be the beginning of the healing process at Central.
Because right now, the Panther community is more than a little wounded.