Ten days after North Andover Varsity Football Coach John Rafferty was fired, local support for him is only getting stronger.
Monday night, according to the Support Coach Rafferty Facebook page, supporters plan to attend the School Committee meeting in the North Andover High School library -- which starts at 6 p.m. -- and voice their frustration over the firing to the School Committee during the public comment segment of the meeting.
School officials have not spoken publicly about the firing, but reports (including Rafferty's statements to the media) suggest it was because he disciplined two players for drinking this past fall but did not go through specific protocol.
The Facebook page administrator wrote:
"Whether you are a football player, player parent, or member of the community at large, please come and show your dissatisfaction with this decision. Encourage as many people as you can to attend. The number of supporters in attendence is critical to our efforts. Each and every one of you is needed to be there, tens of people won't speak nearly the same volume as hundreds of people showing their support. We hope that we can count on you , and we hope you will spread the word."
The School Committee does not hire or fire coaches, but supporters of Rafferty want the School Committee to hear their concerns. Supporters have also expressed a desire to see Athletics Director Jon Longley's contract not renewed in June. Longley, along with Principal Carla Scuzzarella, reportedly fired Rafferty, and some Rafferty supporters are suggesting the decision was made so that they could promote a gym teacher recently hired from Beverly -- who worked with both Scuzzarella and Longley -- to the coach position.
Thursday night, Rafferty was a topic on the WCAP show "Frankly, We Missed the Mark," as callers expressed concern over the firing.
And Monday, The Eagle-Tribune published a scathing editorial, virtually suggesting a school administration cover-up regarding the firing and demanding answers.
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