Keith Wells, vice president and longest-serving current member of the Monticello School Board, was issued a letter warning him that he would be banned from school district campuses and school activities if he again engages in the behavior he displayed following an October 11 Monticello Junior High football game.
At the conclusion of the football game, Wells reportedly used abusive, foul language and threatened to have the Monticello Junior High football coach fired while complaining to the coach about his son’s lack of playing time, according to witnesses’ written statements about the events.
In an October 15 letter, Monticello School District Superintendent Sandra Lanehart told Wells that the type of behavior he displayed cannot be tolerated.
The full text of Lanehart’s letter:
October 15, 2018
Mr. Keith Wells
This letter is uncomfortable for me to write, as I recognize that you are an elected school board member, who together with the other board members, serve as my supervisor. However, I must address your actions at the football game on Thursday, October 11, 2018. You were very unruly, including cursing at coaches. You were acting in your capacity as a patron and parent, not a board member. Accordingly, I must respond to your behavior as I would any parent or patron who acted in the manner you did.
Be it advised that this is unlawful during school hours or in any place a public school employee is required to be, for any person to address a public school employee in an abusive manner. (Arkansas Law § 6-17-106). Mr. Wells, this type of behavior cannot be tolerated by the Monticello School District. If this occurs again, you will be banned from all Monticello School District campuses, school activities, and a report will be made to the appropriate authorities.
In an October 14, 2018 letter of apology to Monticello School Board members and Superintendent Sandra Lanehart, Wells asked that they accept his letter as his deepest regrets and sincere apology.
Full text of Wells’ letter:
I would sincerely like to apologize for my behavior on October 11, 2018 during the Junior High Football game. It was inappropriate and lacked professionalism that is expected from a school board personnel. I would like to express my deepest regret. I was acting on the emotions of an outraged parent instead of a school official. I know this is not an excuse for my behavior at the game but I request that you kindly overlook my mistake and forgive me for my actions. As I can assure you all I will not repeat such inappropriate behavior in the future.
I would never use my job as a school official to throw my power around just for the benefit for my child. It is my passion to serve on the school board and I do it to the best of my ability. Over the past nine years I have witnessed several board members use their power for the benefit of their child. I love doing what’s best for all the children and most of all doing what is right.
I have been criticized by the community for the football team’s lack of wins. I have had to deal with the stress and strain of carrying the backlash of the community but I do it proudly for my school district.
I really enjoy working with all the members of the school board and Mrs. Sandra Lanehart, Superintendent. Mrs. Lanehart is a great leader and is very passionate for the well-being of the Monticello School District. I look forward to the many more years to serve the Monticello School District and have Mrs. Lanehart as our leader. I value our professional relationship and firmly believe that our teamwork will continue to produce solid results.
I am sending this letter in my absence on Tuesday night as I will be away officiating a college game. I hope you will accept this letter as my deepest regrets and my sincere apology.
Keith E. Wells, Sr.