Hoboken School Board Meeting Reveals Community Unrest Over Termination of Head Football Coach, Staff Diversity

In a recent Hoboken School Board meeting, community members voiced concerns over the termination of head football coach, Keon Walker, criticizing the board’s decision and highlighting Walker’s positive impact on students. Further issues were raised regarding lack of diversity, neglect in education, and the need for transparency. The meeting also saw the recognition of students of the month and discussions on upcoming programs, budget plans, personnel appointments, and community welfare initiatives.

The termination of head football coach, Keon Walker, was a focal point of the meeting. Students, parents, and community members expressed strong support for Walker, emphasizing his positive influence on students’ lives and the community at large. Walker, celebrated for his winning seasons and understanding of students’ backgrounds, was praised for teaching life lessons beyond football.

Patricia Waiters, a speaker, expressed dissatisfaction with the board’s actions, accusing them of racism, lack of diversity, and negligence in education. She called for the board members to step down, initiating a protest for change.

Zier Miller, a student, highlighted the crucial role of the coaching staff in his life, arguing that their removal would negatively impact his future. His mother, Vanetta Riva, echoed these sentiments, expressing disappointment at the board’s lack of response to her emails and questioning the role of the academic support administrator, Francis Benway. Riva argued that removing Walker would send a negative message to the community, suggesting that winning was the only important aspect.

Other community members, including a youth football program coach, Jason Blanks, and parent, Michelle Hutchinson, praised Walker for his community involvement and the opportunities he provided for students. Tariq Miller highlighted the lack of diversity among the coaching staff, pointing out the predominantly minority student population at Hoboken High School.

In addition to these issues, the meeting recognized several students of the month for their academic excellence and participation in extracurricular activities. Among them were Nina from Wallace School, Yuval from Hoboken Middle School, and Hannah from Hoboken High School.

The board also discussed various committee reports. The Curriculum Committee presented upcoming programs on financial literacy and literacy efforts in the district. The Finance Committee provided updates on the ongoing audit and the preliminary work on the next school year’s budget.

The meeting concluded on a note of community welfare with the Wellness Committee reporting on the Parts and Carols program, which aims to distribute gift cards to families in need during the holiday season. The board members also praised the successful NJAA teachers’ convention and the Hoboken Middle School theater department for their production of “The Descendants.”

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Christine Johnson
School Board Members:
Sharyn Angley, Antonio Graña, Ailene McGuirk, Malani Cademartori, Chetali Khanna, Leslie Norwood, Alex De La Torre, Thomas Kluepfel, Melanie Tekirian

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