Melissa Bowerman, a volunteer track coach in Oregon, was fired from her positioned after she attended the school’s prom with a 17-year-old boy.
Condon School District superintendent Jan Zarate said that the school conducted an investigation after Bowerman attended the prom and the school eventually decided to ask Bowerman to step away from the Condon / Wheeler track team.
“There was an investigation done and through that investigation, there were some potential details that arose. We started an investigation that led to us asking her to ‘un-volunteer.’”
Bowerman, the daughter of Nike co-founder Bill Bowerman, admitted that she made a “judgement error” but insists that she did not have an inappropriate relationship with the teen. Bowerman said that she agreed to go to the prom because the student did not have a date. Bowerman also said that she attended the dance under the condition that student would raise his grade in English class.
“If they go on (academic) probation and suspension, then they can’t go to the track meets… I said, ‘OK, I will go with you, but we’ve got to talk about English first. You’re going to do better in English.”
Bob Thomas, the boy’s father, said that he highly doubts that Bowerman had an inappropriate relationship with his son.
“I wasn’t worried about his safety in the least because I knew what kind of relationship they had — the same she has with all the kids, boys and girls…. The first thing I thought, ‘Maybe this isn’t a good idea.’ But Melissa has been like a surrogate mom to these kids for years.”
Thomas, Bowerman’s husband Jon, and several other parents are hoping to get the school board to reverse their decision.