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Mailbag: Reader doesn’t like coverage of Waynesboro High School football hire

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Leave this man alone. Plastering his information all over the internet in the name of shaming him should leave you ashamed. Everyone makes mistakes, everyone does things that they are not proud of, and no one is perfect. Hopefully no one ever does this to you, because I’m sure you wouldn’t want your transgressions put out there when you are just trying to be employed and a productive member of society.

Why keep bringing up charges that were dismissed in the court of law? Just to drive your point home that he is a “bad” person? To satisfy some parents who want to stir up drama and cause turmoil in someone else’s life? Maybe the administration in Waynesboro sees potential in Shonn and wants to give him the chance to do something he loves and enjoys. Despicable behavior on your behalf. Some of us are out here dedicating our lives to helping give people a second chance, better employment, something that allows them to live a life worth living, and meanwhile you are out here destroying people’s chances of moving on and being successful. I will never again support Augusta Free Press. 

Natalie Nelson

Hey, at least she signed her name to her screed.

One, the threat to “never again support Augusta Free Press” rings hollow. We don’t charge a fee to read the site, so whether one person reads the site, doesn’t, isn’t enough of a threat to get me to stop doing my job.

Shonn Bell was hired to be a football coach and security officer at Waynesboro High School. And he has a criminal record: two criminal convictions that he pleaded guilty to, and two other serious charges that were later dismissed.

Bottom line: parents of students at Waynesboro High School have a right to know that the school system has hired a person with a criminal record to be the school’s football coach and a security officer.

If the school system had even been the slightest bit interested in acknowledging this publicly as it announced the hire, it would be a different situation entirely. Instead, the school system dramatically overhyped his qualifications, said nothing about his past issues, and since the issues with Bell’s criminal record have become public knowledge, has doubled down on the hire by hiding behind legal excuses.

I would never say that a person with a criminal record does not deserve to be hired for any job. Everybody deserves a second chance, a third chance, et cetera, as long as they’re sincere about trying to overcome present and past issues.

But for a job in a school system, no, a person with these items on their record should not be hired to work with kids.

There isn’t another public school system, college or university or pro football team in America that would hire someone with these issues on his record to be a coach.

If me thinking this and pointing this out makes me “despicable,” I’ll wear that label with pride.

Chris Graham

Chris Graham

Chris Graham is the founder and editor of Augusta Free Press. A 1994 alum of the University of Virginia, Chris is the author and co-author of seven books, including Poverty of Imagination, a memoir published in 2019, and Team of Destiny: Inside Virginia Basketball’s Run to the 2019 National Championship, and The Worst Wrestling Pay-Per-View Ever, published in 2018. For his commentaries on news, sports and politics, go to his YouTube page, or subscribe to his Street Knowledge podcast. Email Chris at [email protected].