Ozen's principal disputes former coach's allegations

Ozen High School principal Odis Norris is firing back at accusations made by the school's former head football coach.

In emails made public last week, Coach Keeath Magee insinuated there was cheating taking place at Ozen, and claimed he was set up to fail by Principal Norris.

Norris disputes that and blames Magee.

Norris contacted 12News to respond to Magee's claims.  It is rare for this to happen since normally media have to go through administration for any interviews or information.

In February, Coach Magee resigned after less than a year at the school, but not before leaving a trail of emails accusing the principal of not providing him with the resources to win.

Norris said, "He said he had everything he needed, I even bought expensive technology equipment for him, he asked me to hire his wife."

And Norris did hire her as a permanent substitute since she did not have her state teaching certification, but in one email Coach Magee says his wife was harassed by Norris because she would not give students answers for the STAAR test.

Norris said, "What she calls harassment we call classroom walk-through on campuses, our responsibilities are to walk through classes, monitor teachers on a day-to-day basis."

Norris says there's no cheating taking place.  He says at Ozen, they're re-testing, re-teaching and repeating, to make sure a student masters the material, a technique Norris says helped boost scores at South Park Middle School when he was principal there.

He said, "South Park had the second highest distinction of any secondary school."

Norris says he doesn't know what Magee's agenda is, but says his troubles might have been self-inflicted.

He said, "Before he even hit the field, six coaches left here and to be honest with you, before he left, there were coaches trying to leave.  Our whole football program is almost depleted of coach's now, and I was not out there, I had nothing to do with any of those coaches."

A Beaumont citizen, Melinda Harper, has taken legal action to stop Magee from continuing to receive payment from BISD.

Those payments are part of his separation agreement, and will last through June.  But Harper contends the superintendent did not have the authority to make the deal.

A restraining order has stopped the payments until a hearing next week.

Last week, Coach Magee told us if he loses the amount BISD agreed to pay him, he will pursue legal action against the district.

Magee is now working at Pearl River Community College in Mississippi.


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