The following is a prepared speech by Greeley Boosters President Jim Nottingham for Tuesday night's Board of Education meeting, which he made in support of suspended Horace Greeley High School football coach Bill Tribou. The speech does not contain any ad-libs Nottingham made during the speech.
Bill Tribou is a complex man, but one thing is certain he has never hurt a child, by accident or by design. He may have yelled at them, cursed a few and caused many to fear his brusque style, but in the end most under his guidance and tutelage come to know and understand he is genuinely concerned about them and acts to help them grow and mature into adulthood.
In a system where most act to appear to be doing the right thing, Bill does the right thing in most instances. Others may question his methods, but the best teachers never follow the standard path, for the very nature of teaching requires one to assess each and every student as a unique individual. This creates problems -- for in some cases a stern look will do, a quiet word in others, but in some cases it requires a commanding booming voice that some might find scary.
In the end, I think Bill Tribou has great character and is an effective teacher of boys and girls. Although his methodology may not be textbook, no one can argue with the results he achieves. It is easy to point out his failings, because he never backs down when he thinks he is right. Yes, he isn’t always right, but when judging a man of conviction it is easy to find the flaws because he is doing something, not playing it safe or appeasing the system, he is laying everything on the line for what he believes in and this is something society, our school system should honor.
The East African saying “when two elephants fight it is the grass that suffers” seems applicable to this situation. As a reasonably reasonable person, I know that nothing is black or white but a thousand shades of gray. Most important is the fact that no one in this matter is innocent. Under the surface based on my years in the district I know that this situation is the result of adults behaving badly on both sides.
Now locked into positions and fighting, unfortunately the elephants are trampling the grass, or students in this case.
While it is hard to know the background and series of factual or imagined events that have led to this situation, it is even harder to imagine why our educational leadership cannot find, did not find a better and faster solution to conclude this issue without the economic and time cost that the present legalities will generate, especially when the district is under such great economic strain. If the will to do so was present, if the objective was to do right by students, surely there had to be a better way to reach a settlement of the issues that would not so adversely affect the students and allow everyone to return to the business of education.
Although I understand why the process has to be followed at this point, I wonder why it had to get to this point. Again it took both sides to bring this moment to pass.
OK, we are locked in the present battle. How much will it cost? I would ask that district outline the procedures and cost of this action so I can know how much money could have been spent saving a teaching position or given towards the turf project.