Paso Robles parents react to Rich Schimke's reinstatement as tea - KSBY.com | San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara Area News

Paso Robles parents react to Rich Schimke's reinstatement as teacher, not as coach

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Rich Schimke Rich Schimke

On Bearcat Lane across from Paso Robles High School for the second time this week, a group of parents held signs that read, "I stand with Schimke." It was also where they learned the Paso Robles Joint Union School District had announced that Schimke would return from his administrative leave for his teaching position, but not as head varsity football coach.

Schimke was placed on administrative leave last week after a video surfaced showing him doing what's been reported as a "body shot" of maple syrup from a player's belly button inside a school locker room. Schimke's lawyer says the syrup was part of an award. "The player asked for the award to be poured on him and it was," said attorney Bob Bartosh.

Debbie Horne has a son on the football team and is disappointed with the news that Schimke will not finish the season as head coach.

"First and foremost, if he is safe and able, and a man of good character to be in the classroom, he doesn't change when he goes on the football field or when he goes in the locker room," Horne said.

Thursday afternoon, the district released a statement on the incident. It said, in part:

"We would like to respond to ongoing inquiries and concerns regarding the status of coach and teacher Rich Schimke.  The District has determined that the October 14 incident occurred in relation to Mr. Schimke's service as the Head Varsity Football Coach, and had no nexus to his service as a classroom teacher. As such, Mr. Schimke has been reinstated to his classroom teaching position effective November 3, 2016.  Matt Carroll will continue as interim head football coach until the end of the season."

Following the district's statement, Susie Schleppenbach, a longtime friend of Schimke's, isn't happy the district is going to keep the coach away from the football team.

"He would never do anything to hurt the students, never do anything to hurt his players and he's always been there for them," Schleppenbach said.

Thursday evening, the mother of the student seen in the video with Schimke responded to the district's decision, telling KSBY, "It's a good start."

"I'm surprised we have no other options for a teacher in the country to prevent a loose cannon to be around children. It's a sad day for victims everywhere," she said Thursday.

The district says no formal action regarding Schimke's status as a coach or otherwise will be before the Governing Board at the November 8 board meeting.

Related coverage:
Paso Robles school district responds to video of football coach and student

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