The Dimond High football program will remain suspended for at least another week, the Anchorage School District superintendent said Friday.
Dimond will forfeit Thursday night's scheduled home game against Palmer as police continue their investigation of "inappropriate behavior" that happened when the Lynx were in Fairbanks for an Aug. 18 football game.
The team also forfeited this week's game against Colony.
In a message posted on the school district's website, superintendent Deena Bishop said she is hopeful Dimond will be able to resume play this season but said everything hinges on what the police and district learn.
"I will continue to evaluate when it may be acceptable to begin football activities, but for now, my focus is on student safety," Bishope said. "Until I understand what happened and am satisfied that our student athletes are safe, my obligation to student safety requires that team activities be suspended."
Bishop's message appears on the district's home page under the title "Dimond High Football Information."
The page provides a limited amount of information about what the district is characterizing as "misconduct" by some of Dimond's upperclassmen. The district said it wants to keep people updated as the investigation continues, "but as it involves minors and personnel, there may be limitations to what ASD can share with the public."
The district set out the following facts:
— Dimond administrators were notified Monday morning of inappropriate behavior during the team's weekend trip to Fairbanks to play Lathrop.
— Administrators immediately notified the police and the school district.
— Police are investigating.
— The district temporarily suspended the football program "to assure safety and a thorough, fair investigation.
— When the police finish their investigate, the school district will take final disciplinary action.
"If the matter involves personnel, there may be a parallel or separate investigation to determine if employment discipline is warranted," the district wrote.
Here is everything the district posted:
There are allegations of improper behavior surrounding the Dimond High School Football team that have led to an Anchorage Police Department (APD) investigation. Anchorage School District (ASD), Superintendent Dr. Deena Bishop and the APD are asking for your patience as an investigation is underway. It will take time to find out what happened.
We will share what information we can as the investigation continues, but as it involves minors and personnel, there may be limitations to what ASD can share with the public.
Here is What We Know
• On the morning of August 20, the Dimond High School Administration was notified of inappropriate behavior during the football team's weekend trip to Lathrop High School.
• The Dimond High School Administration immediately notified the APD and ASD.
APD is actively conducting an investigation into the incident.
• ASD made the difficult decision to temporarily suspend the Dimond High School Football Program from all activity to assure safety and a thorough, fair investigation.
Once the APD investigation is complete, ASD will make final disciplinary action decisions.
Nothing matters more to ASD than the safety of its students. Under ASD's Board Policy, all students and staff have the right to feel safe and secure in their classrooms and while on school property or at school events.
Under our policy, violent and aggressive behavior will not be tolerated and will result in immediate corrective action. Students, staff and volunteers are prohibited from engaging in any form of harassment, assault, intimidation, or bullying while on school property, on school buses, at the bus stop, or at school-sponsored activities or functions. Students who engage in such acts are subject to appropriate disciplinary action, up to and including suspension or expulsion.
ASD has a process we follow when we receive a complaint which implicates any conduct that violates our expectations for student behavior. When the conduct is serious enough to implicates potential crimes, we immediately contact law enforcement. We cooperate with APD to investigate what happened and to make sure that appropriate action is taken. If the matter involves personnel, there may be a parallel or separate investigation to determine if employment discipline is warranted.
Statement from ASD Superintendent Dr. Deena Bishop:
Anchorage School District student safety is my number one priority. I take very seriously and very personally any incident that may negatively impact our communities' kids and families.
This investigation, regardless of the outcome, has driven us to review our policies and procedures to redouble our efforts to assure that our students are secure while they are in our charge. If this investigation reveals that we made mistakes, I will acknowledge those mistakes and be responsible to take steps toward ensuring they do not happen again under my watch.
My children, my husband, and I were high school athletes. The discipline, dedication and dogged hard work that comes with athletics is something I understand and value. For those players, parents and guardians who, through no fault of their own, are being negatively impacted by this situation, I am truly sorry. I can only imagine your disappointment.
I will continue to evaluate when it may be acceptable to begin football activities, but for now, my focus is on student safety. Until I understand what happened and am satisfied that our student athletes are safe, my obligation to student safety requires that team activities be suspended.
I also need to share that based on the timeline of the investigation, DHS football practices, games, and activities will remain suspended during the week of August 27 while this work continues. This decision is necessary to ensure the safety of all players and to conduct a comprehensive investigation. At the conclusion of the investigation, I remain hopeful that DHS football will be able to resume.
Clearly this is a difficult situation and I appreciate your patience as we work with the APD to finish a thorough investigation.