Wednesday, November 21, 2012
Goose Creek High School teacher and coach Benjamin Nolan Greene submitted the following letter to the SCHSL Executive Committee in the wake of the decision to force GCHS out of the 2012 football playoffs.
Members of the SCHSL Executive Committee:
“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” - Dr. Martin Luther King.
Important words to remember in light of your most recent ruling against Goose Creek High School’s football team, school, community, and “John Doe.”
It is a sad time in our community when we are unable to serve as paragons of justice, caring, and mercy to those who need to observe it most—our children. Perhaps I should curb my comments a bit toward the SCHSL, after all, according to one of your members you are but “representatives of 197 high schools” who are charged with enforcing the rules and seeking fairness for the other schools.
It would be interesting to note the response of these other schools and school districts represented by your organization. Do they truly feel as you all do? If so, then we could all learn from Dr. King that “we are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.”
If tonight’s ruling reflects the vote and feelings of all high schools in South Carolina, then as state educators we are failing the children put into our trust and care. We’ve taken a child who has been passed from school to school, home to home, been through the court system at a young age and given him the back of our hand.
It is easy to find fault with those who have no one to stand up for them, who’ve been pushed through the system, and who have had no one to consistently care for them with a loving home. Who now stands shunned and shamed in open court for trying to be a part of his community. I would have hoped tonight you would have seen fit to applaud the efforts of Berkeley County, Jimmy Huskey, Dr. Alexander, and Coach Reedy in their efforts to represent a child, fix a broken system, and provide a home environment in his time of need.
Unfortunately, tonight’s vote did none of that. Instead it flew in the face of state and federal law after flaunting the earlier ruling of the courts last week, and the moral law we are all given by the Grace of God during the mercy vote which followed. Tonight’s questioning and motions by the executive committee seemed no different than the Pharisees debating law and condemning sinners on the Sabbath day. As the Pharisees of old learned from Jesus who sought out sinners instead of condemning them, the SCSHL should learn from the example of Goose Creek High School and embrace those who need it most. After all in Matthew 7 Jesus says “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?”
This past week enough sawdust has been examined to care for the well-being of several horse stalls, yet we have come no closer to acknowledging an honest mistake for what it was. We have only seen condemnation, mercilessness, and dogma enforced upon our children at the hands of the SCSHL. I would encourage all of those who read this letter to decide if they want the fate of their children in all athletic endeavors decided by this committee. If we allow Goose Creek High School’s punishment to stand are we not then paving the way for more injustice to follow?
Goose Creek High School has done nothing but carry themselves with integrity and compassion through this past week and has exhibited more mercy towards a young man in need during this past football season than his past seven schools could muster and an athletic commission could see fit to grant. If anything positive has come of this tragedy, it has been the pleasure of seeing the leadership and community of Goose Creek come together to support one another, their school, their football team, and “John Doe.”
Should anyone on the committee need help to understand these traits present in the Goose Creek community then look no farther than 2 Timothy1:7 … “For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.”
Benjamin Nolan Greene
Goose Creek High School