Parents and coaches from across Berkeley County converged on a board of education meeting demanding some answers, or at best, a frank explanation as to the motivation behind the county board's consideration of changing a longstanding volunteer coaches policy.

Parents, volunteer coaches and their supporters packed the Berkeley County School District board room Tuesday to voice their displeasure with a proposed ban of parents of varsity and junior varsity student athletes from coaching.

"To avoid the appearance of favoritism of players that happen to be children of volunteer coaches on their respective varsity and junior varsity teams, the school board plans to review its current policy of having parents of players serve as volunteer coaches," Berkeley County athletics director Charlie Davis said.

District 100 Rep. Eddy Southard spoke during the public comments portion of the meeting and said he appeared on behalf of his constituents to voice his support of the district's volunteer coaches.

"I have some concerns regarding the board's consideration of this policy change," Southard said. "Just at Berkeley High School we have nine volunteer coaches who are non-district employees and many of those volunteer coaches are parents of competing athletes. A volunteer parent coach is harder on his own son or daughter than he is on the other kids on the team."

Berkeley County Superintendent Rodney Thompson said in a prepared statement that any change in the district's policy could take up to two years to implement.

"We have concerns about rumors circulating about coaches that are parents of varsity and junior varsity athletes showing favoritism. We want to protect our athletes and volunteers from such allegations."

Thompson said the school board's first obligation remains with the students.

"There has been no final decision on this topic," Thompson said. "Schools have been told this is a possibility and to make alternative plans in case the policy is adopted."

"We have concerns about rumors circulating about coaches that are parents of varsity and junior varsity athletes showing favoritism. We want to protect our athletes and volunteers from such allegations."

Thompson said any decision to change the district's policy would involve two committee reviews and two school board readings before being adopted.

"The district is ever grateful for the role our volunteers played throughout the county," he said.