A high school girl's soccer coach has been suspended over a controversial photo showing him with several team members who are making offensive signs with their hands.
The girls in the Rockwall-Heath High School soccer jerseys are flipping the bird in the photo. What's even more disappointing is girl's varsity soccer coach is listed on the district’s website as a sign language teacher.
The school district says the coach in the picture is on administrative leave with pay. While they can't get into specifics because of privacy laws, district officials say they've taken appropriate action towards the student-athletes involved.
The picture has been making its rounds on social media. It got some very strong reaction from community members.
“Not acceptable at all,” said Jose Lopez. “Is that the coach in the back?”
“Are you kidding me?” said Lisa Peimann. “Am I seeing that right?”
Rockwall ISD says it took swift action after learning about the photo on Monday. They said in a statement, “The actions of the students and coach in the photo are disturbing and do not reflect the culture or belief in excellence for Rockwall-Heath High School or the girl’s varsity soccer team."
“I think that's something that would reflect badly on the school,” said Jenna Thompson. “If I was a coach, I wouldn't want my girls going around doing something like that at all.”
“They're representing the community as well as themselves. That's unacceptable.” Lopez said. “Looking at that, I wouldn't even want my daughter to go to Heath if that's the kind of staff they have.”
The school district did not identify the coach in the picture. According to the Rockwall ISD website, the head girl’s soccer coach is Marco Duran. He’s been a teacher at Heath for 10 years who currently teaches American Sign Language.
Duran denied requests for comment. His supporters said he did not realize what the girls were doing when the picture was taken.
He is on paid on administrative leave, but the district would not say what happens from there.