Ki-Be coach's reassignment brings up legal questions

Ki-Be coach's reassignment brings up legal questions »Play Video
BENTON CITY, Wash. -- KEPR uncovered new concerns about the process Ki-Be followed to reassign a coach.

We filed a public records request to gain emails connected to the reassignment of girls wrestling coach Holly Graham. There's a question of whether this follows Washington state law.

Holly Graham says she wasn't surprised when she learned she was essentially being demoted, reassigned from the high school to the middle school, with the same pay.

"I pretty much knew it was coming," she said.

She had reason for concern after a dustup with the Ki-Be school board president, Tim Cook. Graham even attempted to file a restraining order against Cook. A couple months later, she was out of her original job.

Reporter: "Would you say the measure to reassign you was retaliatory?" Graham: "I feel, absolutely."
Reporter: "You would say that based on what?"
Graham: "I've been there four years, I've never had a negative review, I don't feel I've done anything to warrant being moved down to the middle school."

We filed a public records request seeking emails exchanged about Graham. They showed acting Ki-Be High School Principal Shawnta DiFalco did not recommend the move.

Superintendent Wade Haun replied that the order came from Athletic Director Vance Wing, and that he backed him.

Washington State RCW 28A.400.100 covers duties of principals. It states that the administrator has to recommend actions like transfer and dismissal of all personnel under the principal, which brings the decision into question.

We''ve been to the Kiona-Benton School District office at least a dozen times in the last few months, but Wednesday, we came to discuss the email conversation between Wade Haun and the acting principal regarding Holly Graham's reassignment. After we left a note and called, we were finally forwarded to the district's attorney.

He referred us to a similar RCW, 28A.400.300 which deals with hiring and discharging of employees, but does not address reassignments.

On the phone, he told us the "actions of the district are legal."

And when we asked about an on-camera interview with Haun?

"I wouldn't waste my time," he said.

We asked Graham if she plans on pursuing legal action.

"I will present all that to my attorney, absolutely," she said.

Graham says, ultimately, she just wants her job at the high school back.

"Why can't I stay?" she asked.

The district's attorney says he will look into the law.

As it stands, Holly Graham's contract will end June 30. District representatives say she can either assume the middle school coaching job or find work outside the district.