Members of the Falmouth High School Football Team and their parents published a 41-page-long list of grievances against Coach John Fitzsimmons Tuesday as part of an ongoing campaign to remove the coach, which has thus far been ignored by the school’s ultra-woke superintendent.
“We are not adequately coached for competition, and our safety is not prioritized. We players have attempted to make our voices heard on this matter for far too long. Too many players have quit in recent years and not enough will return this fall if you do not make changes to the team’s coaching leadership,” said Matthew Grace, a member of the Falmouth Football Team.
The school board, and Superintendent Gretchen McNulty, failed to remove Fitzsimmons during the routine complaints process, despite receiving letters from 36 students and parents outlining serious concerns with the coach, including concerns over player safety and an allegation that an assistant coach made racist comments denigrating a black player.
Following the administration’s decision to stand by Fitzsimmons, students and parents began their petition effort.
Fitzsimmons’ coaching led to nearly half of the football team quitting between 2022-2023, in part do to serious safety concerns, according to the group of parents and players spurring on the complaints.
The Falmouth football team has a rate of serious injuries, such as fractures, concussions, and broken bones six times higher than the national injury, according to information compiled by the parents.
Fifty-eight percent of freshmen on the team competing in the 2023 season suffered either concussions or fractures, with one game being forfeited entirely because over one third of the team was recovering from serious injuries.
Players have expressed concerns over Fitzsimmons’ ability to lead the team, and his lack of discipline.
Many students felt that the coach pressured them into continuing to play with serious injuries, such as a pulled deltoid.
“Fitz screamed my hands weren’t working and I couldn’t catch the ball so bad it got in my head. I was scared to catch the ball after that,” said one student.
In addition to Fitzsimmons’ mismanagement of the team, he has been criticized for failing to act when an assistant coach, George Spino, allegedly directed racist comments towards one student, accusations which have been substantiated by other students who heard the comments.
Spino reportedly called the student a “brown cow” and said that students were “slower than two slaves chained together.”
Despite the allegations, he was never censured by Fitzsimmons even months after the accusations were substantiated, according to parents.
The black student who was targeted with the racist comment was among the first to address the Falmouth school board last night as players and parents aired their grievances.
It seems that none of these grievances were considered serious enough to warrant Fitzsimmons’ removal.
“It wasn’t until yesterday 4 months after the incidents that [the player’s] parents were communicated with,” said one Falmouth parent who attended the meeting.
“Why didn’t the coach or the school address this? Why did the assistant coach finish the season? As a coach and a parent that sickens me,” they said.
Neither Fitzsimmons nor McNulty responded to a request for comment, although the parents said Spino is no longer an employee of the district.
McNulty’s failure to remove coaches for the conduct described in the complaints came as a surprise to parents who were familiar with her push for “woke” practices and philosophies at the government-run school.
She has previously made Maine Wire headlines for pushing Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) initiatives, banning Halloween celebrations over concerns about “cultural appropriation,” and censuring children under the age of ten for “misgendering” when they failed to use preferred pronouns.