Parent says high school football coach pushed her son

Thomson, GA (WJBF)—Parents are upset because they say the football coach was physical with their kids. One mother says the head football coach for Thomson High School, Rob Ridings, pushed her son last week.

You might remember we told you of a similar story back in May of this year. A middle school parent said Coach Ridings pushed her son as well. The McDuffie County Board of Education investigated the incident and decided to suspend Coach Ridings for 10 days without pay. 

We talked to Shemika Howard. Her son is a sophomore at Thomson High School and she says he is a manager for the football team. Howard says last week at practice, Coach Ridings pushed her son. Howard says she fears the Board of Education will brush the incident under the rug.

McDuffie County Superintendent Dr. Mychele Rhodes says the incident is under investigation. She says she is waiting on the report and will give NewsChannel 6 a statement as soon as she reads the findings of the investigation.

Howard says her son was on the sides lines at a Thomson football practice when a hurt player started messing around with her son and another boy. This is what Howard says caused Coach Ridings to push her son. According to Howard, she met with the school principal and the Board of Education’s Chief of Police the next day.

“They had already come to their conclusion when I went in,” says Howard. “They said, the kids were playing on the sideline and they say the coach did use his hands to separate them and they said that they felt like nothing, no harm had been done to them—that it was not anything offensive to the students.”

However, Howard says her son tells the story differently.

“There was a player that was on the field, he came playing with them. He wasn’t actually playing with my son, he was playing with the guy that was standing beside him. He said that he walked up to the other guy and he was just playing with him and the guy that was playing with him he had a hurt leg so he was telling him to you know, to hold, and my son was trying to tell him to hold, to chill out because he didn’t want the other guy to get his leg hurt. So the coach he saw what was going on and he walked up to them and he immediately pushed them several times and pushed them all the way out into the track that they have out there. And he says he didn’t push them once, he pushed them out of anger.”

Howard says she was in school the night this happened so her son’s uncle and grandfather went to the school after practice. She says when they went to leave, Coach Ridings tried to work things out.

“The coach actually walked behind their car asking them—can they talk this out, it doesn’t have to be this way. To me that shows a sign of guilt that you done something and you’re trying to fix the situation,” Howard says.

Howard says she wants to see the school board put someone in the head coaching position that has a tendency of treating kids fairly.

“If their purpose is not to treat the kids right and treat them fair then I don’t think that they should be there. With this being a repeated behavior for that coach, I demand nothing but termination” Howard tells NewsChannel 6.

Howard planned a meeting for Sunday November 5th at Springfield Church at 5:00PM. She posted the following to her Facebook page.

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