Statement of Interim Superintendent Tom Ahart on Dismissal of Lincoln Football Coaches

The following statement is from Tom Ahart, interim superintendent of Des Moines Public Schools, on the dismissal of two football coaches at Lincoln High School:

In early September, Des Moines Public Schools received a serious complaint alleging mistreatment of a student in the Lincoln High School football program. The district promptly began our investigation, and took the time necessary to do our due diligence and be extremely careful and thorough in our review.

While it was unfortunate that the district’s report was released by the complainant prior to the completion of our process, the fact is our investigation confirmed that both the initial allegation as well as additional complaints were founded. This is a very unfortunate circumstance, and one that I could not ignore.

As interim Superintendent, based upon the founded allegation and a pattern of behavior, I recommended that both Tom Mihalovich and Kevin Johnston be dismissed from their coaching positions at Lincoln High School. And I appreciate that the School Board gave their support tonight to that recommendation.

Let me be very clear: the mistreatment of a student, whether in a classroom or on a football field, is inappropriate in any situation. Des Moines Public School does not and will not tolerate any employee or volunteer who does not uphold the best interests of our students, both in school and in extracurricular activities. If there is a lesson to be learned from this matter, I hope it is a reminder of that important fact.