Details emerge in Richland 2 board member’s rebuke

11/07/2013 8:56 PM

11/07/2013 9:01 PM

A second incident involving Richland 2 school board member Melinda Anderson and the head football coach at Westwood High School apparently triggered a public rebuke earlier this week from the school board chairman about Anderson’s conduct.

On Oct. 8, football coach Rodney Summers learned he was the target of an alleged verbal threat by Anderson over her grandson’s lack of playing time on the field. According to a Richland County Sheriff’s Department incident report, Anderson was in a meeting a day earlier with schools superintendent Debbie Hamm and others when she allegedly vented her frustration by saying, “I’m so angry I just want to kill the coach and I have a gun.”

Anderson, a 23-year veteran of the Richland 2 school board, has denied making the statement.

Three weeks later, on Oct. 30, Westwood’s school resource officer was called to the football field after Summers learned Anderson had sent someone to observe his afternoon football practice. As in the first incident, no charges resulted from the confrontation, said Capt. Chris Cowan, spokesman for the Richland County Sheriff’s Department.

Richland 2 board chairman Bill Flemming said Thursday that a combination of events triggered a discussion by the board Monday night and the statement issued Tuesday. Anderson was present at the closed-door meeting, which previously had been scheduled as a planning session.

In the statement, Flemming said, “On behalf of the board, I want to make it clear that we will not tolerate any employee being threatened or harassed in any manner. The board regrets the board member’s conduct did not reflect well on the board or the district.”

According to the second incident report, athletics director Jason Powell informed Summers that Anderson had sent the person, identified as Clero Evans, 69, to the field.

Summers “stated that he did feel threatened about the subject coming to the incident location and wanted a report written.” An alleged verbal altercation also took place between Evans and Jason Nussbaum, Westwood’s head athletics trainer, the report said.

Efforts to reach Anderson on Thursday were unsuccessful.

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