Wednesday, March 26, 2008

YouTube Video: Lone Peak Coach Monte Morgan Restraining Combative Student In Highland, Utah - Local Media Stirring The Pot

A scuffle between a student and the football coach at Lone Peak High School in Highland was caught on video and placed on YouTube. Alpine School District administrators say the coach was trying to break up a fight between two students and one of them became combative. Stories by the Deseret Morning News and KTVX Channel 4 and KSL Channel 5 posted March 25th, 2008.

It is video taken off a student's phone in the boy's locker room at Lone Peak High School on March 12th. It shows the back of football coach Monte Morgan against a wall. While the student can’t be seen, a verbal exchange between the coach and student can be heard.

Morgan is heard saying: “There's no reason for this. You stop it!" The student says something unintelligible then the coach says, “I can do anything I want. You're attacking me.” The student replies, “I'm not attacking you! You're f----ing attacking me! You slammed my g--- d---- head in!" The coach then says, “Shut up! Shut up! Okay? Shut that up!" Video embedded below, note that the quality is poor.

However, Alpine School District spokesperson Rhonda Bromley says the video does not show the whole picture of what happened (much like the infamous Rodney King CNN video in 1992 didn't show the whole picture, either). “I think it's important that people understand a lot took place before that video started and they need to take that into consideration."

The teacher was breaking up a fight. Bromley says the coach was trying to keep the two students from rejoining in the fight and one student would not comply. “He was still trying to get at the other student. He did need to physically restrain him, which you saw him do, [in the video]. He was trying to verbally get him under control as well as physically,” said Bromley. However, Bromley did acknowledge that the coach was suspended for two days without pay. Coach Morgan also made the news in September 2007 after being accused of grabbing and yelling an obscenity at one of his football players for criticizing the team's offense.

The student's mother said, “I'm not agreeing with what [Coach Morgan] he did, my son did not deserve that. But there were extenuating circumstances,” she said. “And my son acted inappropriately and was using inappropriate language." The student's mother also met with the school district and the teacher apologized. But she's now concerned that some parents want to launch a witch hunt against the coach. Her concern is understandable; a coach at Lehi High School, Michael O'Connor, was subjected to a similar witch hunt which escalated into a suit filed against the parents by the Lehi coach.

Morgan is back teaching in the classroom. He will take a new coaching job at Salem High School in the Nebo School District next year. Bromley says the job switch has nothing to do with this latest incident. He has been an educator at Lone Peak High School for 11 years. Morgan has not responded to any media enquiries.

Commentary: In the words of Shakespeare, "much ado about nothing". Seems like the local media is trying to stir the pot a bit.

The coach clearly was using little more than restraining force. The student was acting aggressively and feeling his oats, as adolescent males are wont to do. Sometimes they need a forceful response to remind them that adults still wear the pants in society. Lone Peak High is fortunate to have a coach who's not reluctant to act like a man when the situation warrants it, and Salem High is lucky to be getting him.

This reminds me of an appropriate verse from the Doctrine & Covenants. Verse 121:43 states, "Reproving betimes with SHARPNESS, when moved upon by the Holy Ghost; and then showing forth afterwards an increase of love toward him whom thou hast reproved, lest he esteem thee to be his enemy". Apparently this young man needed a bit of "sharpness", and the coach was willing to dispense it.

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