Lake Forest School District fires part-time wrestling coach

HARRINGTON — A part-time head wrestling coach at W. T. Chipman Middle School was terminated after a student claimed to see a firearm being displayed during practice on Wednesday, according the Lake Forest District.

Harrington Police confirmed an investigation and said no charges had been filed as of Friday afternoon. Authorities were consulting with the Delaware Department of Justice, spokesman Capt. Earl K. Brode said.

Harrington police said a gun was turned over to an officer, Capt. Brode said.

In a message to team parents, the school district said James McNeil was no longer associated with the program and two assistant coaches would guide the team in the interim.

Lake Forest Superintendent Dr. Brenda Wynder said the head coach position would be advertised on Monday to find a permanent replacement.

Mr. McNeil, a correctional officer, was placed on leave, without pay, by the Delaware Department of Correction, spokeswoman Jayme Gravell said Friday.

Dr. Wynder said district officials met with student-athletes on Thursday to answer any questions and share any concerns they might have.

In addition to the interim coaching staff, district officials will attend Friday’s scheduled practice and Monday’s match.

“The safety and well being of our students is always the most important factor,” Dr. Wynder said. “We are going to continue to evaluate ways to assure that they can have a successful season.”

The alleged incident occurred at the Harrington Parks and Recreation building where the team practices. The district said a School Resource Officer will escort students to practice.

The district contacted police immediately after hearing the student’s claim, Human Resources Director Travis Moorman said.

The district was cooperating with law enforcement and referred all investigation-related questions to police.


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