Correction: An earlier edition of this story incorrectly named the coach as Rick Morsette. Rick Morsette is acting chair of the Chippewa Cree Tribe, and is not directly connected to this story.
The Rocky Boy Public School Board of Trustees had a full house at its meeting Wednesday as members decided what route to take with high school basketball coach Mike Morsette.
Morsette has been suspended for unspecified reasons.
As soon as the meeting was called to order, board member Russell Standingrock made a motion to move the meeting into an executive session to talk privately to the other board members about personnel issues.
“Due to legal restraints, we have to move to executive session,” Standingrock told the audience and added that if he had his way, it would be spoken about publicly.
The crowd, largely made up of Morsette’s family members and supporters, left the room as the school board commenced an hour-long executive session.
When the meeting was called back to order, the board voted unanimously to approve an investigation by the Kaleva Law Offices into a personnel issue.
The board also made a motion to identify the services of Jeffrey Weldon, of Felt, Martin, Frazier and Weldon Law offices. The law office’s headquarters is in Billings and it specializes in school district cases such as allegations that a school administration is acting with discrimination. Weldon is the school district’s attorney.
The school board also decided to schedule a meeting with one of the personnel, whom they said they could not name.
The board then voted unanimously to continue Rick Morsette’s suspension while the investigation is going on.
The board and the law firm will be interviewing the parties involved with Morsette’s situation, including students, Monday and Tuesday.
“The investigation will get to the bottom of things and clear up allegations,” said Josh Seaton, the chair of the board.
Members of the audience voiced concerns about the children and about Morsette allegedly threatening parents openly on Facebook.
“All that will be taken care of with the investigation,” Rusty Gopher, a member of the board, said, trying to quell the excited audience.
As Morsette — not silently — and his entourage, along with many other members of the audience, left the room, Standingrock gave them advice.
“Come here when it involves your children’s education, not just to stick up for each other,” he said.