A former football coach’s claim for damages under the state’s Open Meetings Act was struck down Friday in McClain County District Court.
Jacob Offolter filed suit in May against Dibble Public Schools and superintendent Chad Clanton, saying they went around the law in 2018 to fire him.
District Judge Leah Edwards granted the district’s motion to dismiss Offolter’s claim for damages under the act, noting the act specifically authorizes civil actions for declaratory or injunctive relief, but not for damages.
Offolter was hired to teach high school and be head football coach on March 26, 2018.
That summer while attending a coach’s clinic in Tulsa, Offolter was arrested and charged with assault and battery/domestic in the presence of a minor child.
According to an affidavit in that case, Muscogee (Creek) Nation Lighthorse Tribal Police were called to investigate a domestic at the Riverspirit Resort shortly before midnight on July 25, 2018.
They found Offolter standing outside a room with a scratch on his face. He said he and his wife had argued.
Offolter’s wife had a “significant injury” to her face, according to the affidavit. She told officers they were in bed and began arguing, but she was unable to say what the argument was about.
The Offolter’s son told officers his mother rolled over on Offolter, angering him. The boy said his father picked his mother up and slammed her on the bed before pushing her into the bathroom, according to the affidavit.
A Tulsa County judge dismissed the misdemeanor charge on Sept. 25, 2018, when the prosecution’s witness failed to appear for a discovery hearing.
Offolter claimed between Aug. 3 and 6, 2018, that Clanton contacted four of the district’s five school board members through a group text to gather board support to fire Offolter.
The coach was suspended on Aug. 6 and later fired as teacher and coach.
He alleged he was never paid for his teacher contract, a claim denied by Clanton and the district.
The district subsequently hired Greg Nation who started as head coach on Aug. 6, 2018. Clanton’s son rejoined the Demons football team the following day, according to Offolter.