An emotionally charged group of residents hijacked the Upper Dublin School Board meeting on Monday night, in an effort to convince the board to reinstate long-time girl’s basketball coach, , who was forced to resign two weeks ago.
Supporters claim that the forced resignation came as a result of a complaint filed with the school board by a parent who witnessed Catanzaro yelling at a player. Despite recommendations to retain the coach by Upper Dublin Athletic Director Hope Donnell, Principal Charles Rittenhouse and Superintendent Michael Pladus, the school board declined to renew Catanzaro’s contract.
“I am -- to say the least -- appalled at his firing,” said Mary Cappelli, as she addressed the nine-member board. “I don’t get it. I thought there was a chain of command, but they went straight to the school board instead of through the proper channels.”
The initial public comment period of the meeting began around 8 p.m. with a stream of past-and-present players, friends, and family taking turns at the podium. The supporters , and condemned them for mistreating the winningest coach in school history.
“In this entire situation, I feel that the majority was slighted,” said Jen Meyers, a senior at UDHS. “It’s really a shame and it’s really unfair.”
The group also stated that if the board does not reverse their decision, they will continue to attend each meeting until Catanzaro is reinstated.
“This is only the tip of what is out there in the community,” said Joan Catanzaro-Melograna. “It’s going to grow. Every board meeting that goes by without reinstatement — this is going to grow bigger and bigger in support of Vincent.”
Catanzaro’s son, Vince Catanzaro, Jr., spoke of how the board’s decision could affect them come election time, adding that he’s grown tired of his pleas falling on deaf ears.
“You really need to think about this, because come election time, this is what we’re going to be thinking about,” said Catanzaro, Jr. “We’re not asking you anymore. We are demanding that you reinstate him.”
The public comments concluded around 10 p.m., delaying the meeting for nearly two hours, but despite the threats, pleas and demands, the school board took no action on the matter. Superintendent Pladus explained that the board cannot comment on personnel matters, but he did say the board spent careful time reading every email and letter in support of Catanzaro.
“I have a high regard for Mr. Catanzaro, but I also have an extremely high regard for the nine people that serve of the board of school directors,” said Pladus.
As the group disbursed, a teary-eyed Jean Catanzaro said she was moved by so many people coming out to support her brother, and she pledged that the group will continue to speak at every upcoming school board meeting.
“I’m going to talk to everyone, but we’re coming back to the next board meeting in June,” said Jean. “I know that as time goes on, issues dwindle down to nothing, but we were taught to fight and stand up for one another, so we’re going to continue to do that.”