Milford school system retracts firing of high school hockey coach...
Follow up from June when coach Sal Follo was fired:
MILFORD, CT June 27, 2018 — Fired Milford Indians Ice Hockey coach Sal Follo is appealing his dismissal after a school-led investigation revealed that the long-time coach engaged in "intimidation and fear tactics on players," used abrasive language and at times humiliated players, the New Haven Register's Pamela McLoughlin reports.
Follo's attorney said the school system's findings are false and that his client has numerous positive testimonials. The attorney told the Register that the investigator asked numerous leading questions to players.
Some parents sent in letters complaining about Follo saying he was mean, played favorites and was a bully, which sparked the investigation, the Register reports. School officials interviewed more than 30 people as part of the inquiry. original story hereTHE LATEST
MILFORD, CT Aug 25, 2018 — The school system has retracted its firing of Milford Indians high school hockey coach Sal Follo, as well as a voluminous investigative report that alleged he was too hard on players and showed favoritism.
But before you could say ice time, Follo retired.
The turnaround came less than a month before appeal hearings were to start in the case. Follo, who is represented by attorney Michael J. Dolan, was fired in May following an investigation.
But the Milford Public Schools released a statement Friday backpedaling the decision.
“Upon further review, the Milford Public Schools has retracted its Investigative Report and Coach Follo’s termination.”
The statement then goes on to praise Follo: “The Milford Public Schools acknowledges that Coach Follo has been instrumental to the growth and success of the Milford Indians hockey program. The Milford Public Schools has been fortunate to have him as our hockey coach for over two decades.”
The release states that Follo has informed the the school system of his retirement as hockey coach, thanking him for “24 years of service as head coach of the Milford Indians hockey team. Coach Follo will remain part of the school district in his role as head security guard at Foran High School.”
The statement carries the name of Superintendent of Schools Anna Cutaia.
Follo said in a statement through Dolan that he’s “pleased” with the decision, and “I believe that it is time for a new leader of the Milford Indians hockey program. Therefore, I have decided to retire as head coach of the Milford Indians hockey team.”
Follo thanks the school system for the “opportunity” to have coached and wrote, “ I would also like to thank the numerous past and present members of the Milford Indians family, the Connecticut High School Coaches Association, and Connecticut hockey community who have supported me over the last several decades.”
It wasn’t such a love fest a few months ago.
An investigation by the school system into allegations against Follo by parents alleged he used intimidation and fear tactics on players, used abusive language, targeted and humiliated players in front of the team, retaliated against players if they or their families complained and provided more “screaming and yelling” than true coaching.
But Dolan said all along the conclusions are faulty because they are contrary to the substance of the interviews done in the investigation and many positive comments about Follo by parents, players, athletic staff and others were left out, according to records. He cited other unfair aspects of the investigation, even charging that former Superintendent of Schools Elizabeth Feser wanted Follo gone from the start.
The details of the Follo case were obtained by the Register through a Freedom of Information request for the final report, interviews used to reach the conclusion, emails between Dolan and the Milford Public Schools attorney, Floyd Dugas, and an email from Feser to a school administrator conducting the investigation.
The record revealed twists and allegations flying both ways.
Follo was longtime coach of the Milford Indians Ice Hockey team, a team composed of players from Jonathan Law, Foran and Platt Technical high schools. He coached in city high schools for 24 years, before being benched in May.
The investigation was sparked by letters — both signed and unsigned — by hockey player parents complaining that at the hands of Follo, their sons were subject to “Mind games, abuse, torment,” and that Follo was, “mean, degrading, verbally abusive,” and also that he bullied and played favorites with ice time.
According to notes used in the investigation, Follo told interviewers in response to specific questions that he’s passionate and holds players accountable for their actions, but it is “absolutely false” that he bullies, intimidates, demeans, targets or is unfair about ice time. Follo also denied that he shows favoritism.
Follo told investigators he thought the whole controversy around his coaching was begun by a parent who came to talk to him about his coaching in part because he was unhappy about the time his son was getting on the ice. Follo said he told the parent to send his son/player in to talk about it, but that never happened.
Follo told interviewers that he has a great rapport with the students. Most students interviewed as part of the investigation spoke favorably of Follo.
Follo has also been spoken of in glowing terms by the greater high school hockey community throughout the state.Originating Story