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Parents demand answers after Nederland High School football coach fired

NEDERLAND, Colo. -- Parents in Nederland are demanding answers after they say the high school’s football coach was fired for no reason.

Two weeks ago, about a quarter of the student body at Nederland Middle Senior High School walked out of class in protest of the coach’s firing.

Aaron Jones had been coach at the school for more than a decade before being let go at the end of December.

A Boulder Valley School District spokesman confirmed Jones would be allowed to stay on staff as a teacher but would not disclose the reason behind the firing because it is a personnel issue.

“You need to give us an answer as to why he’s no longer the coach,” parent Jean Luc told district staff at Monday’s meeting.

But district staff told parents at the beginning of the meeting they would not be providing immediate answers. Instead, the “listening session” was a chance for the district to gather comments and concerns regarding the athletics department.

“I’m not seeing anything happen here. I’m not even hearing a promise that could lead to anything,” Luc said. “All I’ve seen is that he’s lost his job with no basis provided at all, except for a listening session, which does nothing.”

As taxpayers, many parents called on the district to be more transparent.

“Can you tell the community what it is? We have a right to know and a responsibility to help with resolving it,” parent Julie Gustafson said.

Without answers, parents are now questioning if there is a bigger problem behind Jones’ firing.

“We believe Emmy Murphy does not have the interests of this community at heart,” parent Bill Thibideau said.

Murphy is the athletic director at Nederland. In the year and a half she has been there, parents said five coaches have been let go.

“She has lost the trust of this community. She has edged out many people whom we count on as pillars of our community and we are poorer for this,” Thibideau said.

Many parents spoke about the qualifications of all five coaches and told district staff they believe all five should still be employed at the school.

“We need answers as to why the dismissal of each of these coaches is warranted,” Gustafson said.

Parents are calling for the removal of Murphy by the end of the school year. One parent even suggested hiring the next athletic director using a parent-student committee to approve them.

Additionally, a petition has been started to reinstate Jones to his former position. As of Monday night, it had about 400 signatures.

In the meantime, district staff said it will take the comments it gathered to try to come up with some answers to the questions.