Coach accused of assault on FHS student

Published 9:18 pm Monday, January 13, 2003

By By Robert Blankenship
Special to The Advance
Flomaton head football coach Don Thornton is being accused of assault by a local family and the NAACP after an incident on the high school campus.
A 16-year-old student of Flomaton High School filed a police report on Jan. 2 against Thornton claiming the coach assaulted him. No formal charges against Thornton have been brought by the police.
According to a police report, the incident occurred on Dec. 12. According to the report, the mother of the teenager said her son returned home from school complaining that his hand was hurting because Thornton had slammed his hand in a door.
Superintendent of Escambia County Schools Melvin "Buck" Powell said he has looked into the incident and believes it to be an accident.
"I have investigated it," Powell said. "I talked with the Flomaton Chief of Police, DHR (Department of Humand Resources) and the district attorney (Mike Godwyn). I have taked with the coach at great length. We have done our part of the investigation and I am convinced that it was an accident. I'm confident any other investigation will come to the same conclusion."
Powell added that he did take some action after the investigation in regards to the coach, but he would not reveal any details, saying only that it was an "appropriate action."
According to the teenager's claims, the coach became upset at him and two other students after they took too long to retrieve a video tape for the coach. Then the juveniles were instructed to get dressed out for gym. The alleged victim said he asked the coach if they had to dress out because they typically don't dress out on days when there is a basketball game at night. The student then told the coach he did not have shorts to dress out in and, at that point, he claims he was told by the coach to go to his office.
According to the student's claims, the coach spoke with him and got upset, kicking a garbage can which hit the student. The student allegedly told the coach at that time that he was going to the (main) office. He told authorities that, with he put one hand on the door and the other on the doorknob to leave.
At that point, the student claims Thornton told him he was going no "damn" where and he kicked the door shut with the student's hand in the door frame.
The student was taken by his mother to the emergency room where they said he was seen by Dr. Raulerson.
According to Powell, Thornton is scheduled to appear before the board in the near future.
In the meantime, Powell said his office and the board will wait to see what is revealed through the FPD investigation.
"We will see what the authorities have to say after their investigation," he said.

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