Belton coach

Belton High School students line the intersection of Highway 439 and Loop 121 in front of school Friday morning in a show of support for assistant football coach Al Maxwell, who had been placed on administrative leave.

BELTON — After protests from students and statements of community support, the Belton school board voted not to fire assistant football coach Al Maxwell on Monday.

However, Maxwell did resign and the board accepted his resignation.

The Belton Independent School District board of trustees held its regular monthly meeting Monday. After the bulk of the agenda was complete, the board went into a closed session to discuss personnel concerns and afterward voted on Maxwell’s status.

“We have accepted his resignation and we have rescinded the termination proceedings that were a process in place,” Board President Randy Pittenger said.

Board members Mike Cowan and Leo Camden were not present for the vote. Cowan had been absent for the whole meeting and Camden left prior to the closed session. The remaining five trustees approved the decision unanimously.

Maxwell first appeared in the news in November, when dozens of students staged a protest outside Belton High School after learning that the popular coach had been placed on leave. The district never addressed the reasons for Maxwell’s leave, citing personnel privacy regulations. One rumor several protestors cited was that he had been disciplined for being too lenient with students caught smoking marijuana.

At an earlier meeting, some members of the community spoke in Maxwell’s defense during the public comment session.

“For two years now I’ve gotten to know Maxwell through my son and I’ve gotten to know the kind of man that he is, and how he looks after his students as if they were his own, and not just a student, not just a paycheck, not just a football player to get his stats up,” Michelle Quintanilla said. “He is indeed somebody that I think you guys should seriously think about keeping on for this school district.”

Quintanilla’s son, Logan Turner, addressed the board.

“He became a guy that I really looked up to,” Logan said tearfully. “He helped me with school and life choices. He’s a man that everybody needs to look up to ... and I hope that everything can be fixed, and he can come back and coach.”

At the November protest, students held up signs encouraging motorists to honk in support, with enthusiastic responses from cars, trucks and the occasional deafening 18-wheeler.

“He has done great things for my son and I know that he’s come to this school to do great things, to make a difference for these students,” Quintanilla said to the board. “There should be more teachers like him out there.”

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