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'A Grave Injustice': GoFundMe Started To Help Fired High School Coach In Westchester County

Wrestling coach Bill Swertfager pictured with students.
Wrestling coach Bill Swertfager pictured with students. Photo Credit: Courtesy of GoFundMe "Coach Bill’s Legal Fund"

Supporters of a fired high school coach in Northern Westchester are taking it upon themselves to help him get his position back. 

A GoFundMe has been started to raise legal funds for Coach Bill Swertfager, who coached varsity wrestling in the Katonah-Lewisboro School District at John Jay High School in Cross River.

The fundraiser page was started on Friday, Nov.18. 

Swertfager, who has coached for nearly 40 years according to the GoFundMe, was removed from his position by the Katonah-Lewisboro School Board and Superintendent Andrew Selesnick, the fundraiser page said. It is not clear why he was fired.

In response, the GoFundMe was created to raise $100,000 to pay for "a legal team of top Education and HR lawyers," in order to help reinstate Swertfager, who will also be using his own resources to fight the decision, according to the fundraiser. 

"Remember, Coach Bill brings 40 years of dedicated service, enthusiasm, and passion to his position EACH day! Yet, today, this incredibly sad day, he is left to fight for his Coaching job, something he truly loves to do. He has positively impacted thousands of student-athletes over his highly celebrated Coaching career," the GoFundMe page said, also calling the firing a "grave injustice." 

Organizers of the fundraiser also said that this could be an example to help other teachers and coaches fired because of "meritless, frivolous claims against them."

"This has to STOP, and we are in a position to do just that! These valued educators are now having to work in schools where they are having to constantly look over their shoulders and watch their backs, because if they say or do something that someone, anyone, finds “objectionable” they are now being dismissed with no due process," the GoFundMe page said. 

As of Monday, Nov. 21, just over $22,000 had been raised to help Swertfager. 

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