PEYTON — On Wednesday, School District 49 released a statement saying that the investigation, which led to the suspension of Falcon High School Football, confirms that there was hazing and harassment happening on the team.
In the statement, the district said that several teammates participated, observed, and recorded the hazing and harassment. They went on to say that the students who initially reported the misconduct have been threatened and harassed.
Earlier in the week, the El Paso County Sheriff's Office said that suspension of the Football program was due to "sexual misconduct."
D49 also said they have since learned that several adults, "including multiple coaches and multiple parents, knew of hazing and harassment activities within the FHS football team that later escalated into the claims that are under investigation." They said right now those coaches are on leave from D49.
The district says teammates from multiple grade levels “participated, observed, and recorded the hazing and harassment.”— Colette Bordelon (@ColetteBordelon) September 22, 2021
The students who made the initial report have been threatened.
Under #Colorado law, coaches are mandatory reporters. A violation = class 3 misdemeanor. pic.twitter.com/rVddjDUa0q
In the statement, D49 said that the coaches, parents, and students told the district that they did not report the harassment because they were worried it might negatively affect their playing status or the team’s season.
The district has called the situation "unacceptable," and went on to say this:
"The silence created the conditions that prolonged the harassment and hazing of smaller and younger students. We consider this misconduct to be a violation of our cultural compass as well as CHSAA standards and our district code of conduct."
The district said that school administrators will determine the next steps for the students involved and that they are subject to both school and law enforcement consequences.
The statement also said that Falcon High School and district administrators are looking at the "best path forward" for the Football program "with the goal of resuming the season under new leadership."
Anyone with information or knowledge of this incident is urged to contact Deputy Mark Meyer at MarkMeyer@elpasoco.com.