IOWA CITY, Iowa – A former Iowa Hawkeye football player and son of Iowa City High School's football coach has been reinstated as a coach after being suspended for leaving a student on school grounds with a BB gun.
Michael Sabers was suspended from his duties last fall following an incident that involved a student having a gun at South East Junior High in Iowa City.
Sabers, who is not a teacher, coached football, basketball and track at South East and served as a strength and conditioning coach at City High. He also was a reserve tight end for the Iowa Hawkeyes from 2004-08.
Sabers appealed his suspension to the school board which voted 5-1 Tuesday night to reinstate him and reverse the decision of district administrators.
He testified before the board that on Sept. 28 he made two car trips to take some of his football players from South East to City High for a football game. As he prepared to take the second group, the students told him another student at school had a cap gun. Sabers approached the student, who briefly lifted up his shirt and revealed a gun in his waistband.
Sabers said that he only saw the gun's handle and that it looked plastic. He said he told the student to go home and left.
Sabers said he was "kicking myself" on the short drive to Iowa City, wondering if he should have taken the gun. He told his father, City High football coach Dan Sabers, what happened. The elder Sabers told him to contact the South East Junior High principal after the game.
Michael Sabers said former City High teacher, coach and athletic director Larry Brown gave him the same advice, which he followed.
Sabers was allowed to coach the next week and eventually spoke with Chace Ramey, the district's chief human resources officer. Sabers was suspended Oct .9.
Ramey testified that Sabers saw the weapon, did not take it, left the student on school grounds and did not tell anyone for several hours. Ramey said a high-powered BB gun is considered a dangerous weapon under district policy.