Editor:

The Daily Times reported that about 200 high school students and their parents had protested the firing of an athletic coach to the Farmington School Board. They described how the coach had been a personal mentor to students, and had modeled important values.

Whether or not the coach is ever reinstated, such passion by students and families over the positive influence of a public school staffer is impressive.

I wondered briefly why I had never seen such public support for an influential teacher of an academic subject. Then I remembered: our public schools don't have the money for daily, after-school instruction for students who achieve well in math, science or creative writing, which might permit their teachers to become mentors and role models. We fund intensive training and personal guidance outside of regular classes only for students whose talents are in athletics.

ROBERT SHERRILL JR.

Farmington