The Indian River County School District concludes investigation into racial term

SEBASTIAN, Fla. -- The Indian River County School District has closed an investigation into a racial term targeting a group of former football coaches at Sebastian River High School.

Former assistant football coach, Joe Nathaniel, says the term BBC, or "Big Black Coaches" Club started circulating amongst staff after nearly ten other assistant coaches quit the team when former head coach, Randy Bethel, was fired without explanation last season. Many of the coaches still work for the district.

Nathaniel filed a complaint with the district when he was offended by the term. The investigation first concluded that it was being used as a term of endearment. Nathaniel was dissatisfied with that conclusion.

"A term of endearment? I guess I'm just not endearing it yet," Nathaniel said.

The district says Nathaniel brought them another specific staff member name to interview, who he says he heard use the term. That led the district to reopen the investigation.

In January, the district interviewed two more staff members who admitted to hearing the term, but claimed they could not remember the details of the conversation or the context by which it was used.

As a result, no staff members were punished for using the term. The school's principal sent out a letter to staff asking them to be mindful of their words and maintain a professional atmosphere.

Nathaniel says he is disappointed by the outcome of the investigation.

"I knew that was going to be something that was done just to appease me," Nathaniel said. "I would have been satisfied was calling the individuals in that were being accused of saying it and rectify it. That's what the old leadership would have done."

Bill Fritz, Assistant Superintendent for Human Resources and Risk Management for the school district, released the following statement:

"This situation has caused individuals at the school to become more aware of perceptions.  Through clear communication and training, we will have a staff who is better prepared to work in a diverse work and educational setting."

Nathaniel is planning to pursue legal action.

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