Two disciplinary incidents that took less than a minute appear to have cost Bob Maronde his job.
The longtime music teacher, who is better known around the state as a basketball coach at Grafton (Wis.) High, has been put on paid administrative leave for the remainder of the school year. His contracts to teach at Woodview Elementary and coach the Black Hawks boys basketball teams will not be renewed, he said.
Maronde spent the past four seasons as boys coach. Before that he was the girls coach for 19 seasons, leading the team to the state tournament five times and winning Division 2 state titles in 2007 and ’09.
Superintendent Mel Lightner offered no details on what led to Maronde’s dismissal. Students learned of his dismissal this week.
“It would be unprofessional and unethical to comment,” Lightner said.
Maronde’s supporters, meanwhile, have set up the Facebook page “We Support Bob Maronde,” which had garnered almost 1,700 “Likes” by Thursday night. Maronde said he did nothing improper when he disciplined three students in his class April 14.
According to Maronde, the first incident involved two boys who were being disruptive in class. He said he took the boys to a storage area of the classroom and when he closed the door, it slammed. The second incident, Maronde said, involved taking a kazoo away from a kid, whom he thought could have poked another kid in the eye.”Both incidents were not major incidents,” Maronde said. “We took care of it in a matter of 20 or 30 seconds with two boys and with the kazoo, it was a 10-second thing. The boys were not severely punished. They were talked to and they rejoined the activity.”
When asked if there was more to this situation, Maronde asserted he did nothing wrong.
“Did you touch anybody? Did you hit any body? Was it a racial incident? Was there a sexual incident. I never touched any of the guys,” Maronde said. “It just wasn’t that kind of thing. In one case, I used an assertive discipline strategy that I got in a grad class. I’d used it before. It’s not an intense type of thing.”
The first time Maronde knew of a problem was after school April 15 when he was called to meet with his principal and Lightner to discuss the matter. The following Monday he was placed on paid leave.
Maronde said he was given until last Friday to sign an agreement in which he would resign his teaching position and be allowed to coach one more season. He declined and believes that Lightner wants to force him out as coach.
“As far as being supportive for my basketball program, it has not been there,” Maronde said. “The feeling that my staff got these past three years was that we were not wanted. Maybe the administration was sorry we had a positive ending to the year this year and won a regional championship.”
Grafton went 37-62 during Maronde’s tenure compared to 15-75 in the four years prior. The Black Hawks won two regional titles during that time and were 10-15 and 5-9 (sixth-place tie) in the North Shore this year.
Lightner denied he was seeking a coaching change.
“I can tell you in no uncertain terms that unequivocally Bob Maronde was slated to come back here as boys basketball coach until the matters unfolded,” he said.
Many of Maronde’s supporters are expected to attend a school board meeting May 9.