More than 50 people attended Wednesday's Anne Arundel County school board meeting in apparent solidarity to request the reinstatement of Chesapeake High School Athletic Director Chip Snyder and wrestling coach Paul Tolle.
The two were relieved of their duties while an investigation examines claims that procedures weren't followed during a December wrestling trip to the Eastern Shore, and that the breakdown in protocol could have diminished students' safety. School administrators have not described the specific allegations.
Snyder remains a teacher in the school system, said school system spokesman Bob Mosier. He said that Tolle was what the school system considers an "emergency coach," who is a contract worker but not an employee.
Mosier said that administrators are investigating allegations that some protocols weren't followed during the team's trip to the War on the Shore tournament at the Wicomico Youth and Civic Center, and that such "could have impacted student safety."
"The investigation is ongoing, and there are times during investigations where we deem it best to take people out of positions that they've been for the integrity of the investigation. That's what has happened here," said Mosier. "There has been no final determination whatsoever with regard to the investigation."
At Wednesday's meeting, supporters stood in unison to recognize speakers testifying on behalf of the coaches — including former and current student-athletes.
Chesapeake High junior Austin Karls told the school board that Tolle was his wrestling coach and Snyder his gym teacher.
"Coach Snyder and Tolle helped me with both athletic, personal and educational assistance. Their dedication to me personally, as well as many other has inspired me," said Karls. "These two men raise the standard, care and dedication for the Anne Arundel County public school system. These two men have earned their outstanding reputation in this county. I can only hope that it will be restored back to them."
Later, Karls said he was on the Eastern Shore trip but declined to discuss the allegations.
Speaking before the board, Dawn Tolle, the wife of Paul Tolle, blamed the situation on "several vindictive and spiteful people with their own agenda."
In an interview outside the meeting room, she said that her husband had not been told why he was removed from his duties.
"It's ridiculous that, based on an anonymous email this can happen," said Tolle, who said her husband had been banned from school property and from speaking on the matter.
"Nobody's releasing any details of the information, which has been ridiculous," she said. "It's been over a week and nobody's heard anything yet as to where it's progressing and what's going on."