Board reinstates Bishop: Green Forest coach, AD will return to work Jan. 3
The Green Forest School Board voted to reinstate Bobby Bishop as athletic director and head football coach after an appeal hearing on Thursday, Nov. 15.
Bishop’s contract had been terminated by Superintendent Matt Summers on Oct. 4 after an incident that had occurred on Friday, Sept. 28, at a football game between Green Forest and Shiloh Christian. According to witnesses at the hearing, Bishop had used profanity and become aggressive when confronting parents over a statement made during the pregame prayer. According to witnesses, the parent leading the prayer had told the players that if they did their best and didn’t win “it was the coaches’ fault.”
Andrew Curry of Watkins, Boyer, Gray and Curry PLLC in Rogers served as the hearing officer. Bishop was represented by attorney Clint Scheel. The Green Forest School District administration was present through Summers and was represented by attorney Charles Harwell.
Curry said the board had four options to consider upon retiring to executive session after hearing witness testimony and closing statements: to uphold the superintendent’s recommendation to terminate Bishop’s contract, to reject the superintendent’s recommendation, to modify the superintendent’s recommendation or to continue Bishop’s contract under such restrictions, limitations and assurances as the board may deem to be in the best interest of the district.
The board ultimately voted to continue Bishop’s contract with
restrictions. Bishop will be suspended for 34 days without pay, and if he does not return to work on the 35th day then he is automatically terminated. Bishop will also be on probation for the remainder of the contract year and must enroll in anger management counseling, which he can complete during his suspension at his own expense.
Bishop said he is glad the hearing is over and is ready to go back to work.
“I’m not overly happy with the outcome, but I’m satisfied to have my job back,” Bishop said.
He said the 34-day suspension without pay will cost him about $10,000.
“I’m scheduled to go back on Jan. 3, 2018,” he said. “I’m excited for that day to come.”
In a statement on Facebook, Bishop said he would like to express his gratitude for everyone who supported him through this tough time.
“The outpouring of love from the Green Forest community and beyond is truly very humbling,” he said. “It’s impossible to thank everybody individually, so maybe this post will reach a few of you. Although it wasn’t the ideal outcome for me personally, I do consider it a win.”
Bishop continued, “And I respect the school board’s decision. A lot of mistakes were made in the incident, and I own my mistakes. I sincerely hope that life lessons for many can be learned from this situation. Still proud to be a Tiger!”