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BMHS Football Parents & Community Update

August 30, 2019

To the Students, Parents and Community Members of the Berea City School District:

While we understand that there have been concerns around our football program and specifically the disciplining of our students and our coaches with regards to the hazing incident that occurred in June, please be assured that our main concern and responsibility from the very beginning of this incident has been the well-being of the victims. 

We had an additional responsibility to investigate whether or not any employees and/or students should be disciplined as a result of the incident. As we have stated in previous communications, we cannot detail the discipline that has and is happening to the students who were involved in perpetrating the hazing of underclassmen. Please know that students who break our code of conduct will be disciplined appropriately for their actions. The administration takes students’ privacy rights seriously and both federal and state privacy laws prohibit the Board or any of its employees from revealing personally-identifiable-students information, which includes any information about student discipline.  

Now that we are aware that the investigation by law enforcement is complete, we want to ensure the public understands that our own investigation has found that the Berea-Midpark football coaches had no knowledge of the hazing incident until the high school administration learned of the incident through an anonymous call made to the SaferSchools Ohio Tip Line on June 18, seven days after the hazing incident.  

During the time when the hazing event happened in a player’s dorm room, many of our coaches were on the first floor of the dorm conducting numerous football-related activities with the players. The coaches were monitoring the student-athletes, including going over plays, formations and sets, meeting with position groups, and going over film. Due to being warned by the Case Western Reserve University coaching staff that the area around the campus was not safe, our coaches watched and monitored students leaving the entry floor exits to go outside to pick up food deliveries to ensure they returned to the dorm safely. Coaches also purposely chose to meet with students on the first floor in the open area because they had been advised by the CWRU head coach NOT to be in any student rooms. Coaches did bed checks between 10:30-11:00 p.m. and made sure all students were in their rooms. Our Titan football coaches have never, and will never, condone or tolerate hazing. During the course of our investigation, we found no evidence that during the camp coaches had any knowledge of the hazing incident or any reason they should have been aware of the hazing.

As far as the district is concerned, we do not anticipate that there will be any need for additional communication to the school community about this unfortunate hazing incident since both the criminal and school investigations are now complete. We will continue to provide support to the victims of this incident, as we have done from the very beginning.  

Sincerely,

Tracy L. Wheeler
Superintendent