(08/27/2008)
Orma resident Sherry Patterson appeared at the Calhoun school board meeting Monday to make a statement regarding an alleged hazing incident involving her 16-year-old son.

Community member and retired school principal Roger Propst appeared on behalf of several football players and families connected to the incident.

The school board, following the advice of school superintendent Jane Lynch, denied their effort to speak in a public forum, saying they would listen to their statements in closed or executive session.

Patterson left the meeting without speaking, with Propst complying to the board's request, speaking to them behind closed doors.

Both parties told the board they would not mention names of any players connected with the incident.

Both Patterson and Propst gave copies of their written notes to the Hur Herald and the Calhoun Chronicle.

A SUMMARY OF WHAT THEY SAID

Patterson's statement said her son had been playing football since midget league, except last year.

She reiterated statements she has given to regional media, saying her son "suffered a violent attack by certain team members."

"I feel very strongly that the Calhoun Board of Education, the Calhoun Middle-High School and the football program were grossly negligent in seeing to my son's safety," Patterson said, claiming a lack of supervision.

Patterson quoted the school system's hazing policy - "Hazing means to cause any action or situation which recklessly or intentionally endangers the mental or physical health or safety of another person..."

She acknowledged Coach Doyle Hupp had the boys apologize, saying my son was told by one of his attackers, quote "We've all been through it."

Patterson says her son "has been scarred for life," and feels unsafe.

She contends having the players sit out one scrimmage is "a slap on the wrist."

Patterson questioned how others would react to such a situation, "Or will they, like my family be shunned, slandered and degraded?"

Propst, according to his written statement, told the school board, the "most important thing, with due respect, Ms. Patterson does not know what happened in the locker room that day."

"The only one that knows are the players involved and their teammates who were eyewitnesses."

"Those players have all given written, signed statements, taken on August 11th...school officials are in possession of those statements."

Propst said Coach Doyle Hupp "suggested the boys apologize to their teammate for the horseplay, they did so in the gymnasium," saying "Mrs. Patterson and her son were with Mrs. Kirby (school principal) for a lengthy amount of time that day and told their side of what happened."

"The families of the boys involved have every right to believe that as far as school discipline is concerned, the issue is over," Propst said.

"The principal ascertained on the day of the incident what had happened, decided on a discipline for the horseplay and notified the parents of the players involved what the discipline would be."

Propst says he understands Mrs. Patterson was aware of the discipline, although very unhappy, agreed with what was being done at that time.

Propst acknowledged the school board has no control over any legal or civil investigations that might occur, "but it is time that the school system itself stand by the discipline already imposed and already completed."


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