This story has been updated to include Dec. 16 comments from Eden Prairie Schools.
David Flom, Eden Prairie High School’s head boys varsity basketball coach, was reportedly suspended by Eden Prairie Schools last week due to inappropriate remarks made to his team during a classroom session.
According to a Monday report in the Star Tribune, Flom used racist language in a discussion of social media with his team during a classroom session last week.
The Star Tribune reported that Nick Ravn, which it referred to as the team’s former assistant coach, sent an email to players, family and alumni that said, “Coach Flom regrets that he read the word as it was written in the social media post. Coach Flom was attempting to educate his players on the impact of their words, as well as the permanence and impact of social media, by using this example.”
An EP Schools’ spokesman said there was little he could say about the situation.
“Minnesota law limits what we can share in response to your questions,” Dirk Tedmon, senior director of marketing and communications at EP Schools, said in a written statement to EPLN. “We can provide the following public data: (1) a complaint has been made concerning Coach Flom; and (2) the status of the complaint is that it is under investigation.”
Tedmon said the district could not provide further information related to questions asked by EPLN.
Although the Star Tribune report said that the results of the investigation were expected Wednesday, Dec. 14, the district indicated this was not the case.
On Friday, Dec. 16, Tedmon said, “In Coach Flom’s absence from basketball, Assistant Activities Director/Assistant Coach Trevor Mbakwe will serve as Interim Head Coach until further notice.”
Flom continues to be employed by EP Schools as a fifth grade teacher at Prairie View Elementary.
At Monday’s EP School Board meeting, which EPLN attended virtually, three people gave statements in support of Flom during the public comment session: John Schultz, Jeff Robinson, and Annie Roslansky.
Schultz, an EP Schools parent and youth basketball coach, said despite believing what Flom said was “reprehensible beyond belief,” he wanted to speak in support of Flom “as a person.” He said Flom had been a supportive basketball coach to Schultz’s son.
Robinson, who is also an EP Schools parent who coaches youth basketball, said that it was important to consider “what is the intent of the word being used?” And that he hopes the community can talk to each other, become more sensitive to others, and move forward together.
Roslansky, a parent of two EP Schools students, gave an emotional talk in support of Flom. She said it is important to have a “safe space” for students to discuss mental health and social media with teachers and coaches and learn that “mistakes happen.” She said she felt it was important for “those leaders to feel comfortable engaging in difficult conversations.”
As is its policy, school board members did not respond to statements made during the public comment portion of the meeting.
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