Still No Answers From District For McGregor and Supporters

Supporters of fired Paloma Valley High girls cross country coach Mike McGregor did not receive answe...

Supporters of fired Paloma Valley High girls cross country coach Mike McGregor did not receive answers they were demanding from the school board Tuesday evening.

Parents and students were able to speak before and during the Perris Union High School District board meeting, but after 20 minutes of public comment, the board moved on to the next issue.

Because the firing of McGregor is a personnel matter, board members made no comment about any of the complaints raised by parents. They did, however, say that McGregor could contact Human Resources in order to release his personnel file to the public.

McGregor, who attended the meeting, did not comment on whether he plans to release his personnel file. He said what he is most upset about is how the district handled his abrupt firing, which happened days after an incident during a cross country meet at Temescal Canyon High.

According to parents who have protested outside the school since the firing, McGregor was fired without notice a little more than three weeks ago, just a few days after he was involved in a disagreement with Temescal Canyon officials over the layout and administration of a cross country course for a league meet. McGregor has admitted using an obscenity during his complaint about the course conditions. Citing confidentiality, district officials have provided no details of the incident.

“My concern is that there’s been no due process,” he said. “The decision was rendered without a ruling, and it was impulsive. It’s difficult to see the fairness in that.”

In comments made by McGregor before the closed session of the meeting, he said he was fired without warning. Immediately after being let go, he spent six hours in the hospital for shortness of breath and arrhythmia. His wife had to call Paloma Valley High for answers, but he said she only received slanderous comments about her husband from Principal Brian Morris.

“I hope this sets a precedent that coaches should be honored and treated as employees of the district, because that’s not happening right now,” McGregor said.

McGregor also wanted to address the issue during public comments, but was denied after the allotted 20 minutes was spent.

“The administration, who serves the public, is ignoring the public, and doesn’t want to have a conversation that could be constructive for everyone,” he said.

Shirl Larios, a supporter of McGregor, said this is just the beginning. Her next plan is to get on the school board’s November agenda and garner more support on this issue from the city.

“Whatever they shut us down on, we will pursue,” she said. “We will continue to fight to get this on the agenda because it needs to be addressed and completed.”

Parents and students began protesting when they did not receive any more answers on the policies and procedures of firing coach McGregor.

McGregor said the support he has received from the community has been overwhelming and very familial.

“When you’re a coach, you don’t necessarily see that because it’s in the background,” he said. “But I wanted to build a family in the team, so it’s nice to see that goal and emphasis come to fruition.”

Many of McGregor’s former athletes on the girls cross-country team came out to support him. Another Paloma Valley teacher has coached the team since the incident.

“I’ve been telling them to not make me the focal point,” McGregor said. “I want them to focus on the team and let their parents fight for this. Their biggest responsibility is to each other and their school.”

McGregor and his supporters are still demanding answers from the board, an apology from Morris, and the reason a complaint has not been filed against Temescal Canyon for what they consider to be its unsafe course.

“This doesn’t have to get ugly, but it’s leaning that way,” said McGregor.

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