The Clark-Shawnee Local School District has completed its internal investigation into the school’s baseball team and said students will face consequences.
The district has been investigating the Shawnee High School baseball program for about three weeks after allegations were made involving student athletes during a spring break baseball trip to Tennessee. Superintendent Gregg Morris said Friday he couldn’t say what happened during the trip or what actions the district has taken due to federal privacy laws.
“At this time we have issued athletic and academic consequences,” he said. “Privacy laws do limit what we’re able to comment about around the investigation but we do appreciate the families and students for all their help throughout this process. Right now we’re focused on providing support to our students.”
A volunteer coach and three baseball players had been suspended earlier following the investigation. The coach now has been dismissed, Morris said, but he wouldn’t say whether the three students were removed from the team.
Morris declined Friday to identify the players or the coach.
“It was a supervision issue,” Morris said of the volunteer coach’s dismissal. “We have high standards for students and we have higher standards for those who are supervising our students and that was the issue we are addressing.”
The team was supervised by both coaches and parent chaperones on the trip. When asked if he was satisfied with the parental supervision, Morris said, “We addressed every issue that we saw that needed to be addressed.”
The district will take a deeper look into its policies regarding school trips, Morris said.
“We’re evaluating the whole process for trips and I’m not implying in any way that there will be no more trips,” he said. “We’re going to review our procedures for trips and we’re probably going to tighten some of those. As parents and students come back for the next school year and we have our initial meetings with our students and their parents, that will be an emphasis during those discussions.”
The Shawnee varsity and junior varsity teams missed a combined 10 games while the school was investigating the allegations. He said he made the decision to cancel the games for student safety.
“The reason they weren’t playing was I wanted to be assured and understand the situation well enough to assure safety … once I was assured of that, that’s when we continued the season,” Morris said.
An administrator will be present at all remaining games in the season, he said.
The Clark County Sheriff’s Office is also conducting an investigation into the alleged incidents. Chief Deputy Travis Russell said Friday that the office continues to investigate and declined to give more information.
A sheriff’s report states that the office is investigating harassment claims.
A parent who asked not to be identified has told the Springfield News-Sun that her son was on the baseball trip and described the allegations as an assault. Her son is one of the victims, she said. The mother said she believes the alleged assaults were a type of initiation and her son and other students weren’t given a choice.
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