With a public relations specialist standing nearby offering advice, the head of the Anchorage School District said Tuesday the district is conducting its own investigation into allegations of serious misconduct by members of the Dimond High football team.
Superintendent Deena Bishop and school board president Starr Marsett both spoke to reporters after a closed-door meeting at ASD headquarters that included Bishop, board members and a communications specialist from a public relations firm.
Neither provided information about what was discussed or decided during the meeting, which lasted about an hour.
"The things that came out of that meeting is, again, that safety is our No. 1 concern for all our students," Marsett said. "We will take whatever actions (needed) to keep our students safe."
The school district said it told the Anchorage Police Department early last week about allegations of what officially has been described as "misconduct" following Dimond's Aug. 18 football game against Lathrop in Fairbanks.
Bishop on Tuesday said the school district is also investigating.
"It was just recently at end of last week that we began our side of the investigation, so the APD side is not complete, nor is ours," she said.
"We will release information as we can on (the ASD website) in a timely manner."
After Tuesday's closed-door meeting, Bishop was asked if disciplinary action has been taken against upperclassmen accused of misconduct against younger players.
Bishop said she couldn't respond.
"I know that that is the question out there in the community," Bishop acknowledged. "We are working with minors and there are laws set out in regard to working with minors, and so those disallow me from commenting on specifics at this time, and I regret that."
Asked if disciplinary action has been taken against coaches, faculty members or administrators, Marsett said she and Bishop would not take questions.
At that point, communications specialist Charles Fedullo of the Strategies 360 public relations firm tried to wave the two officials away from reporters and toward a meeting room.
Earlier, before the officials made their statements to reporters, he urged them to not expound on their comments.
"Just as soon as the interview's over, just say thank you," he told them.
Bishop has suspended all Dimond High football activities for last week and this week, including scheduled games last week against Colony and this week against Palmer.
She said she doesn't know when Dimond's season might resume.
"Can I say that I'm hopeful? I'm always hopeful that good things happen for kids," she said. "But we are not complete (with the investigation) and it would be inappropriate to speak."