Parents Have Safety Concerns After Coach Pleads Guilty To Inappropriate Relationship

By: Angela Sparkman Email
By: Angela Sparkman Email

Parents are asking how to keep their kids safe after a coach pleads guilty to having an inappropriate relationship with one of his players.

Pike County School administrators say they have volunteers in all schools, not just sports but teaching assistants, custodians, and others.

Before any of these are allowed to work on school property and be around students, they have to pass a background check.

Both Belfry and Pike County School Board officials say they acted immediately when they learned of an alleged inappropriate relationship between a volunteer softball coach and a player.

“We do everything we possibly can do to make sure our children are safe,” Rod Varney said.

The volunteer coach pleaded guilty and is banned from school property and coaching.

Sheriff investigators say school officials didn't do anything wrong when they allowed him to coach.

“Had had no criminal history so no reason they should have suspected anything from him,” Deputy Greg Smith said.

“He's married, has a family, nothing out of the ordinary,” Rod Varney said.

School officials say not everyone goes from spectator in the stands to coach in the dugout.

School Board Administrators say any adult who wants to work on school property or at school functions must first apply, even if it's just to volunteer.

They run a background check on all applicants through police and the court system.

They check both criminal records and the sex offender list.

“If there's nothing to tell us this individual is not fit to work with children, then we have to take a step of faith,” Ralph Kilgore said.

They say this is the first time taking a step of faith has failed since the checks started, but officials don't plan on changing their system.

They hope incidents like this one, won't happen again.

Mark Kohari, the coach who pleaded guilty, is banned from school property, and Belfry High School officials say they will make sure he stays away.

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