The Darby School board released a statement Tuesday confirming it would retain football coach Jeff Snavely and outlined his punishments after public outcry to fire the coach and a petition with more than 7,500 signatures gained traction.
During a Zoom meeting on June 26, the Darby School board voted to keep Snavely employed after reviewing offensive comments he posted on Facebook on May 31. Snavely posted a comment pertaining to protesters during a Black Lives Matter protest in Salt Lake City, Utah where he wrote in a since-deleted comment, "they should all be strung up and hang in the public like the old days. Lot less of that s*** would go on."
After the board meeting and decision, community and public outcry to fire Snavely arose with a petition gaining major traction on Change.org. Multiple football players from the University of Montana and Montana State also publicly expressed their anger and frustration at the board opting to keep Snavely instead of firing him.
In Tuesday's release, the school board's most notable punishment was the decision to suspend Snavely for a year without pay, active on June 30.
Here's the full list of punishments:
● Mr. Snavely will be suspended without pay as coach for one year, effective June 30, 2020. During that time, he may not coach any Darby students directly or indirectly, including through other coaches. He also may not attend any practices or Darby football camps. If the 2020-21 football season is suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the suspension will carry over to the next season.
● Mr. Snavely will be required to attend and complete a board-approved, one-on-one training or counseling on social/racial injustice at his own expense.
● Mr. Snavely will be required to attend and help organize at least four community conversations set up by the board chair and vice-chair to improve the culture and climate in the community and Darby Public Schools. He will also be required to bring 10 community members to each training by his invitation.
● Following the completion of the training and community conversations, Mr. Snavely will be required to establish a board-approved, one-hour program educating Darby youth about the necessity of inclusion, respect, and celebrating all cultures and races. This training will be reviewed by the board and subject to changes as necessary.
● Mr. Snavely will prepare and distribute a public apology to the community as well as via social and traditional media outlets.
● A letter of reprimand, including the above corrective actions, will be placed in Mr. Snavely’s employment file.
Darby School also explained in the release it chose to retain Snavely in hopes of generating a "greater discussion" in the community about "difficult issues."
In an effort to do so, Darby School has also decided to do the following:
● Institute a racial/social justice committee at the school.
● Take part in the community training.
● Have school-wide training to address social injustices.
● Check-in by June 2021 to let the public know what it has done and the effect it has had on the community and what changes have come along for Mr. Snavely in his life.