Jennifer Hamblin, Cheatham County School Board Member, has been accused of having ulterior motives against the Sycamore High School Wrestling Team. On Thursday, February 3, Hamblin attended a wrestling meet at Hillwood High School to support her husband, Goodpasture Wrestling Coach Steve Hamblin, previously a Sycamore wrestling coach. Hamblin stated she was unaware Sycamore would be wrestling.
Allegations against Hamblin consist of videoing the wrestling match against Goodpasture and Sycamore, reporting misconduct accusations against wrestlers with an ulterior motive to try and keep Sycamore wrestling from competing in upcoming meets. Parents were also questioning why she didn’t approach the coaches or parents about any conduct issues at the meet.
According to Hamblin, she followed the chain of command and reported misconduct of wrestlers to Interim Director Stacy Brinkley who notified Sycamore High School Principal Dr. Amy McWhirter.
Several of the parents attended Monday’s school board meeting in support of their wrestlers, coaching staff and two parents scheduled to speak during public forum, Victor Stevens and John Pendleton.
Stevens addressed board members, crediting the coaching staff with guiding his son in the right direction since attending Sycamore as a new student and parents with supporting the coaches and keeping an eye on the team at meets.
“Leaving students unrepresented or unsupervised would be a severe misrepresentation and information,” stated Victor Stevens.
He did request full disclosure of digital communications between parties regarding the allegations as well as a copy of policy and procedure on board members speaking with parents or coaches about student or athlete behaviors at sporting events.
John Pendleton, father of a Sycamore wrestler, approached the board with some of the same concerns and wanting to understand board policy on following chain of command.
“I’m not here to place blame, point fingers or make any accusations. My biggest concern about all this is was that we were at a meet, someone witness something, and I’m not saying they did anything wrong, I’m saying from what I’ve gathered, and all the parties I’ve spoken with, what was led back to me was the board says there will be no contact with anyone other than the board, that y’all have to go through the chain of command,” commented Pendleton.
Questioning the board’s policy, he requested protocol be reconsidered if board members are prohibited from addressing coaches or parents regarding their athlete/child’s behaviors. To improve communication between board members and the wrestling program he suggested forming a parental board with coaches, if needed.
“We want the same thing you do. We want our school system to succeed. We don’t want to be seen in a negative light,” stated Pendleton.
At the end of Monday’s meeting, during closing comments from board members, Hamblin confirmed taking pictures of the wrestlers and posting them to Facebook but stated she hadn’t recorded any matches, nor had any ulterior motives.
“I take pictures of all of my schools and students, posting nine times out of ten to Facebook, to showcase the students of district schools,” stated Hamblin.
Addressing the chain of command protocol, she explained any witnessed misconduct or behaviors were to be reported to the director of schools, their only employee as an elected official. Approaching coaches or parents would be a direct violation of protocol mandated by board policy. According to Hamblin, following the February 2, 2017 meet, she has been bullied and threatened.
“I had people show up at my house, I had threats on Facebook; I had a woman approach me, and my daughter, in a parking lot Friday night in Pleasant View upset…there is a chain of command and I followed that and you can ask Director Brinkley, there have been more than one time I’ve forwarded information to her; I followed the chain of command. I cannot approach the student, I cannot approach the parent and there isn’t anything or any ulterior motive there, other than I care for our students and I do my job…I’m always here for these students and this staff but the bullying tactics that took place since Thursday night doesn’t serve any of us any good,” stated Hamblin.
She reminded public attendees there is two sides to every story and extended an invitation and willingness to speak with anyone at the close of the meeting.
Currently Cheatham News is unaware of any reprimands or disciplinary actions taken against any wrestlers, coaches or school board members at this time. Board policy information pertaining to this article is provided below.
To learn more about Cheatham County Schools, Cheatham County Board of Education or to read school board policies visit www.cheathamcountyschools.net.
Cheatham County Board of Operations on Cheatham County Schools website www.boardpolicy.net, Policy Number 1.202, Duties of Board Members, number #8 of the duties states the following:
“To refer complaints to the director of schools and to abstain from individual counsel and action in regard to staff members.”
TCA 49—2-202(a)(6); TRR/MS 0520-1-2-.11, Cross References, Role of the Board 1.101, Ethics 1.106.
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