Mo Gorman is out after seven years as the coach of the Riverside-Brookfield High School dance team known as the Pupettes, and many of the Pupettes are not happy about that.
Three Pupettes read at statement at a recent District 208 school board meeting, protesting the decision not to rehire Gorman for next year.
“Our coach, Mo Gorman, will not be returning for the coming season, from what we understand, due to the allegations made by an unknown caller,” said RB senior Mireya Romo at the April 8 school board meeting.
Mia Vina, a junior co-captain of the Pupettes, told the school board that a few members of Pupettes were questioned by a school official.
“We believe it is unfair to interrogate four high school girls who had no previous knowledge of the situation being addressed and, therefore, making them feel unprepared and intimidated,” Vina told the school board.
In a brief telephone interview before the school board meeting, Vina told the Landmark that she and a few other Pupettes met with Gorman for brunch in late March.
At the brunch, Vina said, Gorman told her and the other Pupettes that “unknown callers had called the school and said that my coach had done inappropriate things and made us feel uncomfortable as Pupettes.”
“They said that the unknown caller was a former graduate of RB,” Vina said.
Vina said she had never seen Gorman behave unprofessionally.
“We are a very close team; we are all like family members, so none of us feel threatened,” Vina said. “My coach has never, ever said anything inappropriate to us. Actually she’s the opposite. She’s very, very professional in everything she does. It’s weird that she was just fired out of the blue for that. I don’t understand how a former RB student can cause the coach to get fired.”
Gorman was present at last week’s school board meeting when the three Pupettes read their statement but she did not speak at the meeting. Afterwards she declined to talk to the Landmark.
Gorman graduated from RBHS in 2002 and has coached the Pupettes since 2007. She works as an elementary school teacher and is the daughter of former Riverside Village President Michael Gorman and Linda Gorman, a popular veteran teacher at RBHS who is retiring at the end of this year.
School officials are not saying much.
“This is a personnel issue and needs to remain confidential,” said District 208 Superintendent Kevin Skinkis. “Mo Gorman was hired to do the 2013-14 dance season. She’s a non-RBEA employee, so that position is reposted every year. She completed the year that she was hired for, and we’re moving in a different direction. It’s not really technically a termination or a firing.”
Skinkis said that he hopes the school can name a new Pupettes coach in the next three or four weeks. He would not confirm the school had received an anonymous phone call about Gorman.
“I can’t confirm or deny that, because it’s a personnel matter,” Skinkis said.