Former star player and Proviso East basketball coach Donnie Boyce could get his job back after all.
Board President Theresa Kelly said the board would discuss rehiring Boyce during closed session at their regular meeting Tuesday night, which will be held at Proviso Mathematics and Science Academy, 8601 W. Roosevelt Road. Kelly said she supported Boyce returning to his former position as part of Proviso East’s security staff and as basketball coach.
Boyce was suspended in December 2014 and fired by the board in February 2015 after cellphone footage allegedly showed him choking a female Proviso East student while trying to break up a fight at the high school.
Kelly said the district was going to post a job notice to fill his coaching position and she told Boyce that he should re-apply. She added that investigations by the Department of Child and Family Services and the Cook County Sheriff’s Office found no wrongdoing by Boyce in the incident. No charges were ever filed against him.
More recently, an arbitration process between the district and the teacher’s union similarly found no wrongdoing. According to Kelly, an independent third party recommended Boyce be reinstated to both positions.
In addition to serving as coach that took the men’s team to the state finals twice, Boyce was a star of the Proviso East basketball team when he was a student at the school. In 1991 he helped lead the team to a state championship as a player. He was later drafted to play in the NBA.
“He’s a young man from the community,” Kelly said of Boyce, explaining why she felt he should return. “I’ve never seen him hurt anyone. He was a mentor to a lot of young men.”
Kelly said the video of the incident was misleading because all of the footage was not shown of the incident.
“He was just trying to de-escalate what was going on [between the two students],” Kelly said.
Following the incident, which bought significant media attention to the district, Kelly said the district scheduled additional training for deans and security staff about how to handle themselves in physical confrontations between students. She said the training was held over the summer and included additional sessions for heads of security to train any new hires by the district.
Boyce could not be reached for comment.