Parents Preston A. and Aicia Turner are seeking to have a disciplinary referral of their son Preston D. Turner expunged at Chatham High School of an alleged assault that occurred during the evening of October 25, 2017.
Turner, a senior at Chatham, was participating in football practice when he ran a play and allegedly ran into a coach during a drill.
The student behavior referral form states that the reason for the referral is “assault on assistant football coach,” with the administrative action of 10 days of out of school suspension and signed by Dalton.
According to a letter sent home from CHS Athletic Director Jessica Dalton, Preston was suspended 10 days beginning on Oct. 26 for, “assaulting the assistant football coach.”
During the first football game of the year on August 25, Turner broke the state record for most touchdowns in a game with nine touchdowns — breaking a 42-year old state record.
According to his father, that record and others which he broke during the season were left out of the 2017-18 yearbook which already to press.
“Preston is an accomplished athlete at Chatham High School. He embarrassed an assistant coach after he ran him down at a football game. We’ve been unable to convince the principal or the Superintendent to dial it back,” Turner’s father said.
The family believes that, ‘he has been purposefully demonized.’
After the season was over, Turner was told not to attend the football awards banquet.
His accomplishments were allegedly not recognized from the season.
“No devil in hell can take what God can put inside you,” his father said that he has been telling Preston.
His father also alleges that Preston had to perform 80 hours of community service in order to be eligible for the basketball team.
After meeting those hours, he was allowed to play in January — two months after the season’s official start.
Then time came for spring sports, and Preston wanted to go and try out for baseball.
“First week of tryouts there was a lot of rain and there was a tarp on the field. He fell and the coach told him to go and change. A few team members were in the dugout and one of the guys hung a chain in the dugout and placed it in the form of a noose, and asked Preston is there gonna be a lynching today,” Preston’s father said.
The father alleged his son didn’t know what they were talking about.
“They said, ‘that’s what is done to black people,’” Preston’s father said through tears.
Preston said he didn’t play those games and went and changed.
Back at the field, players allegedly filled his glove with dirt and worms.
When he returned, he discovered what they had done.
After finding out what happened, parents Preston and Aicia reached out to the school the next day.
The Pittsylvania County Sheriff’s Office was never notified of the alleged hate speech.
They were allegedly told the events at the baseball field were under investigation, but officials at the school wouldn’t say what punishment was given out.
Preston’s father alleges that the boys involved only had to write an essay, perform a few hours of community service, and replace his glove.
“For me to be a father and allow something like this to happen, I can’t do it. I can’t do it,” Preston said.
According to the family having the word ‘assault’ on Preston’s record hindered him from moving to the next level.
The Turner’s will be filing a complaint with the United States Department of Education Office for Civil Rights in Washington D.C. and a courtesy complaint to the civil rights counterpart agencies in Virginia, according to a press release from the family.
The Turner’s are also contacting the Howard University Law Center in Washington D.C. for information on retaining a civil rights attorney to counsel them on their best course of action as an advisory.
A letter sent to the Turner’s by Pittsylvania County School Superintendent Dr. Mark Jones dated March 21, 2018 states that, “Preston’s discipline referral must remain as it was recorded and cannot be removed from his discipline record,” it continues, “Mr. [Randy] Foster will plan to recognize Preston’s state record of scoring nine touchdowns in one football game at a time that he determines is best, “ it continues, “I am also of the opinion that the incident with the baseball players was thoroughly investigated and appropriate actions were taken.”
The Turner’s still want Preston’s athletic records restored and the disciplinary referral expunged from their record before graduation.
“There’s nothing I can comment on because it would be a student matter. I can’t confirm any dealing with a student record because its dealing with a student’s cumulative record,” Dr. Jones said in a separate interview Wednesday.
Dr. Jones also said that he has no knowledge of any video from the evening that the alleged assault occurred.
“I don’t believe we video any practices county wide,” Dr. Jones said.
Anita Royston, who was present and briefly spoke at the family’s press conference Wednesday at WKBY on U.S. Highway 29 in Chatham said that she had spoken to a university coach who said to her that with the assault on Preston’s record, that no school would consider him for sports.