Outrage, Controversy Following “Volleyball”
By Alex Haglund
Outrage and a flurry of media coverage have occurred in the wake of The Nashville News publishing “Volleyball”, the column by Nashville Community High School Superintendent Ernie Fowler, in the Wednesday, August 30 edition of the newspaper.
The Nashville News did not hear anything about the column on the day of its publication, or for most of the day Thursday.
On Thursday evening, sports editor Brent Huelsmann reported a lot of talk about the column from those present at the NCHS volleyball game.
The first Facebook posts to The Nashville News regarding the column were late that night.
On the morning of Friday, September 1, we received the first calls asking about the column, and there were numerous Facebook posts regarding it – most expressed outrage or disgust, but there were also those made in defense of Fowler as well.
At this point, other news media got involved in the story. The Nashville News received requests for interviews and photos by both phone and e-mail around midday on Friday.
A number of television news crews, both from southern Illinois and St. Louis were in Nashville. One crew came to The Nashville News office, and there were also reports that a crew was stopping students for comment in the NCHS parking lot before teachers asked them to leave.
Over the Labor Day weekend, numerous stories regarding “Volleyball” and Fowler were released by various media entities. Nash-news.com was linked to by USA Today, a story was published by The Miami Herald.
Most regional and St. Louis news venues had one story or another on the issue.
Superintendent Fowler wrote a new column on Friday which was published online. He apologized for the offense and stated that he would no longer be writing the column.
Friday afternoon, the Nashville Education Association, the teachers union, issued a statement condemning Fowler’s column and asking that he resign or be removed from his position.
The teachers union had previously announced that they had taken a vote of “no confidence” in Fowler towards the end of the 2016-2017 school year.
There has not yet been any word on Fowler or the column from the school board – due to open meeting laws, it is likely that they will not be able to make a statement until they hold a meeting.
While the board’s regular meeting is on Monday, September 18, a special meeting has been called regarding this issue and will be held on the evening of Wednesday, September 6.
Whatever action the Board takes regarding this issue will be covered by The Nashville News following that meeting.
There is a statement on the column on behalf of The Nashville News here.
The statement from the teachers union can be found here.
Fowler’s apology column can be found here.