Loudoun Valley High School ex-head football coach files grievance
The previous head coach of Loudoun Valley High School's football team, Danny McGrath, still doesn't know why he was fired.
Last week, he began the process of filing a grievance with the school, according to his lawyer, William B. Reichhardt, principal attorney at William B. Reichhardt and Associates in Fairfax.
The formal written grievance is set for filing Sept. 17.
“[We're filing the grievance] to protect this teacher's ability to continue to teach and be free to exercise his profession in the school district without harassment,” said Reichhardt. “Nobody sat Danny McGrath down and said 'we're firing you as a coach because of this.'... And frankly, I don't know if we ever expect to get that. It's a courtesy if nothing else, but given everything else we're looking at, it doesn't really surprise me that he wasn't told.”
Reichhardt has been a recurring player in the unfolding drama of allegations of bullying by administration in Loudoun Valley High School. He said he's been working with McGrath for over a year to investigate those allegations.
Last year, he said the big issue was teachers and coaches feeling they couldn't speak freely.
“Danny McGrath is not only a fine coach, but he's a professional,” Reichhardt said. “And it's that that I'm going to pursue with the school district...[Our investigation] is almost complete ... We're looking at this [firing] as an ongoing pattern of harassment. … As far as I'm concerned, the pattern that we see extends beyond the issue related to [McGrath's] job as a coach.
One of the biggest rumors paired with McGrath's firing as coach is that the administration disliked his views on safety procedures within the school, specifically linked with the decision of administration to remove helmet sensors from play.
Reichhardt said that, while he believes it might be related, it's a small part of a bigger picture of free speech for teachers.
“That's certainly a factor,” he said. “There's a pattern here...We think that the school district didn't follow some necessary procedures.”
The acting head coach and math teacher at LVHS, Anthony Long, stepped in to fill the unexpected gap left when McGrath was fired.
Long said he wants to get the focus turned back to football and the students.
“Right now, we're just trying to keep the focus on weekly tasks and focus on football and keep all the distractions outside,” he said. “We're taking it one day at a time.”
Despite the changes to team leadership, Long said the players have remained consistent.
“The kids have done a great job of knowing that their goals still need to be intact and focused,” said Long. “They've come together as a group really well. They're a very mature group handling everything very well and done a great job really focusing on football.”