Baker County High School varsity football coach Ryan Sulkowski was suspended without pay for ten days for using a school district credit card to purchase alcoholic beverages at a Clay County restaurant in February.
School Superintendent Sherrie Raulerson said the suspension that began last week and runs through spring break this week was “the stiffest penalty I could give under the circumstances.”
“He should not have put the alcohol on the card; it’s not acceptable,” said Ms. Raulerson in an interview last week. I didn’t feel this was an offense punishable by death (firing him) but I lost some sleep and prayed before deciding this was the best way to put this behind us.
“At the same time, I wanted to send a strong message to employees of the district that behavior like this won’t be tolerated.”
Coach Sulkowski, recruited to Baker County from Colorado three years ago, advised BCHS bookkeeper Terry Langford of the charge before the credit card bill reached the school at month’s end.
He said he asked the waitress at Whitey’s Fish Camp, a popular Fleming Island restaurant on CR 220, to separate the alcohol from the food bill that evening so he could pay it separately, but she did not do so.
He was dining with two coaches following a weight lifting meet against Fleming Island and used a “P (for purchase)” credit card issued in the name of BCHS athletic director Melody Coggin and kept in a safe by Ms. Lankford.
“I did wrong. It was an honest mistake but I didn’t follow the protocols and procedures,” said Coach Sulkowski in a phone interview this week. “I always tell the kids that consequences come from bad behavior and that’s where I’m at.
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