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Does a high school have grounds to fire a coach for brewing his own beer?


Craft beers have exploded on the beer market the last few years, and with them has come an increasing number of self-proclaimed home brewers mixing up all kinds of great stuff.

But a recent event surrounding the firing of an assistant coach in Washington for a related issue has sparked an interesting conversation among the FootballScoop staff.

Lakes HS (WA) assistant head coach Hillary Butler has been let go for reasons that he believes are directly related to his new business as a Tier 3 cannabis producer and processor. In states where marijuana is legalized, many would make the argument that growing your own marijuana and brewing your own beer are on the same playing field. Butler and his partners broke ground yesterday on a 30,000-square foot grow site facility.

Clover Park School District director of community relations Kimberly Prentice offered the following explanation for Butler's dismissal, per MyNorthwest;

"All Clover Park School District coaching contracts are non-continuing, meaning they are season to season. Coaching adjustments are made regularly, depending on the needs of the team and best interest of student-athletes."

Among teams in their division, Lakes HS finished ranked in the top four teams in the state of Washington last season after missing the playoffs for a few years, so the move to dismiss one of the top assistants on the team has left some in the community looking, and yearning, for a better explanation than the one provided.

The hosts on local KIRO Radio debated that since marijuana is legal in Washington, it should be viewed the same light that brewing beer is. After all, both are governed by the same law stating that people under 21 can't purchase either of them, so as long as he wasn't selling to the kids, everything is technically above board.

"If it's legal in Washington, you can't have some sort of moral compass for determining certain things are legal, but there's a gray area,"KIRO hosts Tom Tangney and John Curley explained. "There's no gray area. The law says under the age of 21 you can't purchase the intoxicant of marijuana. The guy can legally grow it now, he's got a business, you shouldn't get rid of him for being a coach."

If the school were to come out and admit that they fired coach Butler for the cannabis venture, then there may be an argument here, but that's not likely to happen so everyone is left speculating instead.

However, it does introduce an interesting narrative on whether a school could terminate the services of those on your staff that are home brewers. Should schools be able to terminate employment if he legally sells his own beer? And if the answer is no on beer, how about if he grows weed for commercial sales in a state that legally condones it? Where's the difference?

Chances are you have someone on staff that has tried home brewing, or at least know of a colleague that tries it, so where do you stand?

Read more on the issue here.