IT Parents, Athletes Defend Soccer, Basketball Coach

Andy Schneider was relieved of both coaching positions in December.

A band of student athletes, parents and staff members united last night at the Island Trees Board of Education meeting in support of Andy Schneider, the Island Trees High School girls soccer and basketball coach who was terminated from his position just days after the start of the 2011-12 winter season.

According to many of those who spoke, an incident on Facebook involving a soccer player from a neighboring school shortly after the fall soccer season came to an end allegedly led to Schneider's removal from both teams. Schnieder, whose soccer team won Conference A-II this season, is currently a physical education teacher in the district.

Dozens of supporters, including the entire Lady Bulldogs varsity basketball team, pleaded to the board on Wednesday that their chosen punishment does not fit the crime. Bridget Vilbig, an Island Trees senior who has played basketball her entire high school career, felt her most important season of all has been ruined and the decision to take her coach away was unjust. 

"I've been looking forward to my senior year as a time I'll always remember," she said. "Now, [when] I think of my senior year, I think of this."

Vilbig also reminded the board just how selfless and caring Schneider is to all of his team. "He was a mentor to me and the reason I want to become a coach," she said. "Schneider always taught us to learn from our mistakes and we trusted that advice. Now he doesn't get a chance to correct his."

"Schneider doesn't coach lacrosse but he has provided me with so many opportunities to live my dream at Ohio State," Vilbig added. "He got me on a winter league to play and even got me a tryout on the Irish National Team. The most unselfish thing he's done was let me miss one of our biggest games of the season to go to Ohio State. He knew how much it meant to me and he wanted me to fulfill my dream."

Jackie Simons, an Island Trees parent, told the board of the remarkable support Schneider and his team showed for her and her daughters after she lost her husband last year.

"He put together a huge fundraiser for myself and my girls because he cares about the people in this community like they're his family," said Simons. "He's a wonderful man."

Alexa Dolgos, a freshman who has known Schneider since her elementary years, said her success in soccer would have never happened if it wasn't for her coach.

"Schneider encouraged me to try out for soccer in fourth grade," she said. "Today I am a varsity soccer player in the ninth grade. He not only taught my skills but he taught me to be kind, gracious and respectful."

Dolgos pleaded for the board to reconsider their decision, sharing how most of the soccer team does not want to return to the field next year without Schneider's guidance.

"It only took you two days to come up with the decision to fire our coach and I don't think that is fair," Dolgos said with tears in her eyes. "Please change your decision. Missing the basketball season has been enough punishment."

Parent Susan Biondilillo spoke about her daughter, a 2011 graduate of Island Trees whose experience with Schneider has led to an amazing future.

"Meghan was asked to play varsity basketball as an eighth grader and I was nervous but Mr. Schneider said he'd help her," explained Biondilillo. "Meghan was the third girl to score 1,000 points in Island Trees history and is now a starter at Springfield College as a freshman."

"We all make mistakes," she added. "He may have made a little one sticking up for his player but you guys may have made one too. There are more young girls he can inspire in this neighborhood."

The general question Wednesday night was "Why?", but the Board of Education was unable to give an answer. Though they commended the students for speaking their mind, board president Patricia Mahon said they are not permitted to discuss the matter in public.

"When you ask for a reason, we are prevented by confidentiality to give any reason," said Mahon. "There is now pending litigation. I'm sorry, but that is the only response we can give you. I know for some of you that's not enough, but that's all the district can say."

Concerned Resident January 29, 2012 at 05:53 PM
Propaganda is not a factor in this election. Teachers are a bit nervous their robots are in danger. Vote all of them out. So much for them caring for the children, as usual it is all about them. You are not in school anymore. I am sure these nuts were the kids that looked up to others and wish they were part of a certain crowd. Just be the looks of them, tough to look at, if you know what I mean. They make Homer, Bart and family look normal.
connie ligus January 29, 2012 at 08:42 PM
What kinda place is this?
Mac January 29, 2012 at 09:46 PM
Real problems in Levittown? How about real problems due to irresponsible adults on facebook. It has been well documented that young girls on facebook is a recipe for disaster but now this stupidity is creeping into the adult world. Did anyone not take a lesson from what happened to the coach because of irresponsible posting on social media? As a society can we no control ourselves? In response to some many "friends" by a board member please realize the IT school district is a tiny district and of course most people know each other so having them all as friends is no surprise. Fire the coach because of facebook postings then carry-on worse than any of the parties involved. Great lessons for all of our children. You should all be ashamed.
Concerned Resident January 29, 2012 at 10:08 PM
Hey Mr. IRS, you stood in the crowd when others were throwing stones. Now your in the crosshairs. Finally the community has opened its eyes. I am not concerned with the teachers problems, he is an adult and as I hear is represented by legal council. My concern is with the fact that those in control could not care less what the others in the community feel. As usual they only take care of their cronnies. PTA go away. Your kid and you are NO better than any other resident. I hear the next meeting will be more crowded than this past one. Can't wait to see the good old supporters come out of the woodwork again in support for the incumbents.
Concerned Resident January 29, 2012 at 10:11 PM
Concerned Resident January 29, 2012 at 10:14 PM
Take a look at these mutts homes and see who is paying what. See who's house is up to code, and what they have on their property. Look at all those who don't have the proper ducks in order. Look especially at the people who work for the county, district and other volunteer organizations. For some reason their homes do not reflect the website above.
Concerned Resident January 29, 2012 at 10:14 PM
Have fun.
FatCarltheGangsta January 30, 2012 at 01:47 AM
Can't we all just get along? Lets get back to the way things used to be here!!!!!!
madaboutourschools January 30, 2012 at 02:00 AM
I think you guys in IT should follow the advice of ol' Fat Carl the Gangsta. Fat Carl seems like he might know a thing or two about education.
LINY70 January 30, 2012 at 05:51 AM
Oh please post when the next meeting is....this is better than Jerry Springer!! I am anxiously awaiting the "Coup d' e'tat". "CONCERENED RESIDENT" FOR PRESIDENT!!! Go get em kid...I got your Levittown Patch back. It's about time for all those glass houses in "all" of Levittown come down..MacArthur and Division YOUR NEXT! How many people in one family can work for the same school district??????? Hmmm... inquiring minds would like to know. Get your cleets and your lips ready....Baseball season is right around the corner!
Mac January 30, 2012 at 01:08 PM
Concerned resident can you please tell us all how being on the BOE helps wih your house being up to code? Or tell us how the termination of a coach relates to a person's home? Perhaps resident you should be looking at friends of Murray and Mangano not the BOE.
monica January 30, 2012 at 03:53 PM
Anthony Fiorino January 30, 2012 at 04:35 PM
Pulp Fiction quotes? Really? During a discussion on morals and ethics? WOW!
Anthony Fiorino January 30, 2012 at 04:48 PM
GOOD GOD, where were all these amazing and passionate opinions when I covered this on "Hey Coach Tony" this past Saturday morning? Do I need to reopen this one so you guys can all vent? WOW!
Proud mother January 30, 2012 at 06:26 PM
Anthony...maybe you should get your facts on this straight. Coach Schneider DID NOT "friend" a player from another team on Facebook and he DID NOT "speak online to the girls or engage in conversation with the girls of the opposing team" which is what you said. So before you start makings acusations, make sure you know exactly what you are talking about. How can go on and make such comments without knowing the facts?? You're making a bad situation worse.
Ashamed January 30, 2012 at 08:39 PM
It seems to me you must be misinformed because the statements you make are just not true. You are going after a family that has given a lot of themselves for the children of Island Trees. They have worked hard and have never profited from anything they have done for this district. I think we should stick with the issues at hand instead of your own personal campaign.
An tUasal Airgead January 30, 2012 at 09:29 PM
NC is planning on closing the 8th precinct and people in IT/Levitt are wasting their time/energy babbling about Facebook postings? Try directing your energy towards your NC Legislator to save the 8th. http://abclocal.go.com/wabc/story?section=news/local/long_island&id=8524551
Justin Izzo January 30, 2012 at 09:59 PM
Folks: Discussion on this topic is great and, frankly, expected. However, when it tilts into the arena of name-calling and rumor, it becomes unacceptable. You can express your own opinions on a subject but do so in a civil manner.
Concerned Resident January 31, 2012 at 12:12 AM
Whats the big deal, so the cops in the neighborhood will not be able to hang out in their homes all day. Crime is through the roof. Where are the cops anyway. No longer able to watch their kids games on-duty. No longer being able to put a regular shirt over their uniform and take time off. Notice the blue pants with a black strip. I can see consolidation of school districts in the near future. One big problem who is going to want to take on other communities. The Town of Hempstead is a dump. I know the districts to the east will have nothing to do with those west of 107. Oh, I forgot, our illustrious school board in IT is going to save the world...At least for their own ego's. Will be watching your facebook accounts for your responses. By the way did you get those RELIGION sheets yet? When is the next night out????
Concerned Resident January 31, 2012 at 12:17 AM
Mr. Izzo who determines what is unacceptable and uncivil? Just curious. If this is a form of journalism, which I think it is, then why sensor or attempt to censor what your co-worker has created in her article. Thank you for this forum. It provides me the avenue to express my opinions through my freedom of speech.
Matthew Hogan January 31, 2012 at 02:11 AM
@Concerned Resident: Please see our terms of use for what is considered unacceptable: http://levittown-ny.patch.com/terms Thanks for reaching out and participating! -- Matt Associate Regional Editor
Vinny D January 31, 2012 at 05:05 AM
All this hoopla for a teacher who is getting paid 8 grand extra to coach a soccer team for 200 hours at 40.00 per hour. Nobody cares about the foreclosures, the coming cuts in staff, the budget shortfalls because the boe and administration did not make an tough decisions last year. Nobody came out to speak about the closing of the 8th precinct. Everyone up in arms about a teacher with a coaching stipend of 8,000.00. Thats 666.67 dollars extra per month. A 40.00 per hour part time job. 40 dollars per hour is an 83k job if it were your primary full time source of income. To most people that is a lot of money. To an I.T. teacher it is 1/3 less than their average salary. What could you do with an extra 8k, or $666.67 per month? A new BMW 740 3 year lease for 599 @ month. Or maybe your insurance for you house (2k) plus you cars (2k0 and 7 day carnival cruise for a family of 4 to the Bahamas. I would say pay your school taxes, but mine are more than 8k per year, mainly because of teachers salaries outpacing inflation by over 50% the past 15 years! Teachers are and should be held to a higher standard. They are paid to a higher standard and are paid to be educators as well as role models. Courts have repeatedly upheld a higher standard of behavior. Move on parents...The guy still has a job making more money than the average and for that matter the above average I.T. homeowner.
Mac January 31, 2012 at 01:24 PM
Lisa I agree with you completely. This situation has absolutely nothing to do with money or home values. A teacher should be held to higher standards because they have a huge responsibilty in molding our children. But, we must also remember they are not perfect and make mistakes. The question in this case was did the mistake fit the punishment? Without all the facts we cant determine that. The coach should never have engaged the other student in anyway at all. The coach should have his whole body of worked looked at before this decision was made and does anyone know if that was done. Was the teacher/coach ever disciplined before? As a parent I alwyas wanted the best for my children and every parent should stand up if they feel their child is being wronged. Too many people make this more than it really is.
VietnamTom January 31, 2012 at 01:40 PM
Hey Island Trees...If half of the concerned families and Mothers who are commenting here cared as much about EDUCATION as you do these rediculous facebook issues and some soccer coach/basketball coach, you would realize that Island Trees is behind every other school district in this area in relationship to test scores/ Regents scores/ Pass/ Fail scores. Island Trees ranks last when compared to every surrounding district. The only schools not ahead of you are Uniondale, Hempstead and Roosevelt and maybe Farmingdale. You guys must be real proud of your kids and thier academic ability? Try focusing on the real problem at hand....like maybe the teachers who are not doing their jobs at teaching your kids. Something is really wrong in Island Trees when this issue outweighs your kids test scores. Wake up before Island Trees becomes the ghetto of Levittown.
monica January 31, 2012 at 01:47 PM
You go Vinny D.!!
Soccer Mom January 31, 2012 at 08:53 PM
Justin Izzo January 31, 2012 at 10:41 PM
Last warning. Lay off the personal attacks.
Fed Up Taxpayer February 01, 2012 at 03:48 AM
Are any Island Trees PTA presidents also paid employees of the Island Trees School District?
Mac February 01, 2012 at 02:29 PM
How does how much the coach/teacher is getting paid make a difference in this situation? If he was paid less it wouldve been OK to address a student on facebook? Please find the volunteer head coach at the high school level. The head coach is there a minimum of 3 hours extra m-f than on many Saturdays. Being a volunteer is great but volunteering 15+ hours a week is a little much to ask anyone. Also the coach may not have been given a 13% raise. He may have had other ways to add on to his salary by perhaps taking classes, tutoring, proctoring etc... I do agree that a 12k straight raise if so in 2 years is a bit high.


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