It was an emotional meeting of the North Callaway School Board Thursday night as FFA students, parents and alumni turned out to speak in support of agriculture teacher and FFA Advisor Curtis Bowling, whose position with the district is in quesiton.
A parade of Bowling supporters spoke during the public comments portion of the school board meeting to sing Bowling's praises.
First up was Bruce Meffert, whose wife, Jeralyn, and daughter, Abigail also addressed the board.
He expressed concern that Bowling had apparently been summarily let go this week with no notice after "he apparently did something wrong."
"We're talking about someone who has done great things for this district. If my information is accurate ... you shouldn't just let someone go," Bruce Meffert said. "We've shown some forgiveness in this district already - we've shown forgiveness for Mr. Thomsen. If we don't show (Bowling) forgiveness here, shame on us."
A tearful Sandy Montgomery, president of the alumni group, presented a petition signed by students.
"We don't change our baseball coach every year, we don't change our football coach every year for a reason," Montgomery said. "These kids are a team. Doing this to them is not right. Doing this to Curtis is not right."
She said the alumni are behind Bowling "100 percent."
Her daughter, Emily Mongtomery, was next, stating that "Mr. Bowling is the best thing to happen to our program for a long time."
"You didn't give him a chance. He's the best thing for our program," Emily Montgomery said. "I just feel like this isn't fair."
Jeralyn Meffert agreed that Bowling, "is incredible."
"I've never heard a negative comment about him, ever. He's an outstanding mentor for our kids - in our house we refer to him as Uncle Bowling," Meffert said. "If you let this guy go, wherever he goes, they have a gold mine."
Abigail Meffert described moving to the North Callaway area eight years ago and making the switch from home schooling to public schools as a freshman - a transition she said was aided by Bowling.
"Mr. Bowling encouraged me like nobody else did," Abigal Meffert said. "He's always there. He's always trying to help us with everything."
FFA officer Bailey Kemp, who had to stop for a moment to regain her composure, told board members they would be "hard pressed to find a teacher as good as him, to make our program as good as it was."
Student Adam Crawford also stood up to say Bowling "has always been there for me."
"He's been the most dedicated teacher, ag advisor I've ever seen," Crawford said.