At the Lebanon Community Unit School District 9 meeting on Feb. 13, Robert Roma, parent of a Lebanon High School soccer player, addressed his concerns over the soccer program and its coaching.
Roma said he feels the Lebanon Board has been kept “completely in the dark” about what he said transpired in the 2018 soccer season.
Roma described incidents that took place over the season – many of which include game sustained injuries and negligence from the program’s head coach, Cameran Keepper.
In an away game against Salem High School, Roma said a player sustained a season ending injury to the knee.
“Cameran lazily made his way out to the field,” Roma said.
According to Roma, the coach from Salem was the one to assess the player and carry them off of the field.
“Cameran failed to ensure first aid supplies were present,” he said.
Roma said he himself assisted the player and made a splint from the players shin guard as there were not first aid supplies present.
Roma then referenced a letter sent to Superintendent Patrick Keeney by a grandparent of a soccer player, Eric Mills.
In his letter, Mills claimed Keepper used the team water cooler “as his personal ice chest.” Roma, referencing Mills letter, said Keepper would take his beverage and then put it back in the ice chest – “the same water our kids are expected to drink.”
There also was an “ongoing belittlement of players,” according to Roma.
“Some reported to me and some incidents I was actually able to hear from the stands,” Roma said.
Roma summed up Mills letter by stating it addresses Keepper’s lack of training, soccer team safety concerns and the lack of attention to injured players.
In a Sept. 20 home game against East Alton High School, Roma said a player received two blows to the head during the game, “which should have been enough for any coach to pull a player from the game.”
Roma said Keepper chose to put the player back in the game “even though it was evident the player was unsteady,” he said.
“While I was positive he had sustained a concussion from first impact, I was shocked when I learned he also had a perforated ear drum,” Roma said. “I will argue it was Cameran’s negligence that lead to that injury.”
Roma and Mills – who was also present at the Feb. 13 meeting, expressed frustration that the discussion surrounding the soccer program was not added to the agenda prior to the Board meeting. Roma said his attendance to the Board meeting was discouraged by members of the Board and superintendent.
“I feel like the Board would be dropping the ball if they didn’t take some action,” Roma said.
“That individual is a detriment to the school district, to the school and to the kids and I don’t feel the individual should be in this position,” Mills said.
Keeney thanked Roma and Mills’ for their comments and said the Board would take them under advisement.
In other action at the Feb. 13 meeting,
- The Board approved Mike Berne as After School Reading and Math Tutoring Director.
- The Board approved the resignation of Shannon Connors as Lebanon School District Aide and Post.
- The Board approved the Yearly Running Start Intergovernmental Cooperative Agreement.
Keeney said the intergovernmental agreement is between the district and SWIC and allows for high school juniors and seniors to attend SWIC full time and receive an associate degree when they graduate from high school.
“They would meet requirements for high school graduation as well as when they finish the two years they would have an associate degree,” Keeney said.
Funding from the state pays for half of the student’s SWIC tuition and the student would be responsible for the other half.
Students would still be able to participate in social aspects of high school such as sports and prom.
The program is open to five students and has criteria including test scores and grade point average.
“It’s a very good program,” Keeney said.