At least four high schools in Iowa encountered hazing issues in their wrestling programs this winter. The first highly publicized case, in Lisbon, resulted in assault charges being filed against four wrestlers.
Lisbon School Board members met with parents Tuesday night after months of speculation surrounding the accusations of hazing. Board member Andy Sullivan said school officials need to review what they did right and wrong in their handling of the investigation. “If we are not moving forward, we are moving backward plain and simple,” Sullivan said. “I refuse to let discontent or the rumor mill take down this school and the great things that occur here on a daily basis.”
About 50 parents attended the meeting and were asked to write on Post-It notes how they felt Lisbon school administrators handled the matter. Many cited a lack of communication and said they were frustrated to be getting most of their information about the alleged bullying from the news media.
Sullivan said the school board called the community session as a show of humility and a need for improvement. “We as a board have high expectations for student achievement and quality instruction. We must put this behind us,” Sullivan said.
Many Lisbon parents said they’re encouraged to see school officials have developed a student anti-bullying program and made changes to certain policies regarding school facilities and adult supervision. Other cases of hazing or bullying in wrestling rooms were reported this winter in Sioux City, Gilbert and Greenfield. The incident in Greenfield led to sexual abuse charges against two wrestlers.
by Jillian Petrus, KCRG-TV