Leading off today:
Though the term has been out there for several years as a play off the phrase "helicopter parents," I don't think I'd ever heard of "lawnmower parents" until Friday.
"They just mow everything down that's in their kid's way," Mark Storm told the Democrat and Chronicle.
Storm coached a variety of high school sports over 31 years before he was let go in 2015 after a few parents went to the school board with allegations Storm was a bully and broke promises to his players, the Democrat and Chronicle reported Friday. A letter sent to Honeoye Superintendent David C. Bills accused Storm of being verbally abusive and having a drinking problem.
As detailed by the paper Friday, that contributed to a school board vote ousting Storm as the varsity basketball and baseball coach and turned out to be a $50,000 mistake. That's the amount Storm recovered in a settlement with one set of Honeoye baseball parents after originally seeking $150,000 in a civil suit filed in December 2015.
If that victory in a defamation suit brought by a dismissed coach isn't unprecedented, it's at least close.
"This went over the line," Storm, 61, said of the letter in question. "Something had to be done."
He added: "My hope is people will at least start to think about what they're saying, think about what they do before they send that email."
As noted by reporter Jeff DiVeronica in the story, the parent-coach dynamic has shifted in high school sports. Parents are more likely than ever to challenge coaches over issues like playing time and roster decisions. They'll often go so far as to criticize game strategy.
Increasingly, it's done in confrontational fashion rather than constructively. Some trace the origin to the rise of a youth sports culture in which even third- and fourth-graders are enrolled into clubs with elaborate practice schedules and travel to distant competitions.
"Families are paying younger and they're paying more (money) and for 10 years if parents have questions they've gone to the coach," said Robert Zayas, executive director of the New York State Public School Athletic Association. "It gives them the misconception that they have a say, but when their kids get to the high school level parents are amazed they no longer do have (a) say."
The newspaper's story contains much more on the whole Storm controversy, including details of the process that led to his not being rehired as coach. Suffice it to say that the school district doesn't come out of it looking very good.
You can find some additional background, including very specific allegations made against Storm in the fateful letter, in a 2015 article in The Daily Messenger.
More on controversial decisions: At least two of the three new members elected to Suffern's school board this week were on record of supporting the return of boys cross country coach Joe Biddy for a 50th season, which would overturn a previous decision that was widely panned.
Stay tuned for updates on that situation once the new board is seated.