The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Local News

June 29, 2010

School board hears details about alleged hazing behind closed doors

SENECA, Mo. — Rocky Ackerson was hoping to leave Tuesday night’s meeting of the Seneca School Board with some answers about what actually happened during an alleged hazing incident earlier this month involving members of the Seneca High School football team.

“I’ve heard hearsay,” he said. “But that’s why I’m here — to find out exactly what happened.”

An undisclosed number of players allegedly were involved in the incident during a football camp at Pittsburg (Kan.) State University. On Tuesday, university police said the investigation is continuing. A PSU spokesman said members of the football team and Seneca school officials are cooperating.

Ackerson, the stepfather of a freshman and a senior on the football team, declined to discuss the details of the alleged incident until after he had talked with school officials during a closed-door meeting.

“My understanding is there were a few incidents that should never have happened,” he said. “I just want to know where the supervision was. I wouldn’t take a busload of 2-year-olds to IHOP with a bowl of cookies on the table and not expect them to take one. There’s going to be mischief going on.”

Ackerson was among about 80 people who attended the meeting at the district’s administrative office. Officials brought in extra chairs, but more than a dozen people stood during the meeting. Others waited in the halls.

At the start of the meeting, Joe Caputo, board president, asked those attending for their patience. He said any comment with regard to the alleged hazing incident would take place during the closed session at the conclusion of the meeting.

At least 15 people had signed up to address the board by the time the regular meeting adjourned at 6:30 p.m. More than a dozen people were still waiting to address the board at 8 p.m. The board was meeting with parents individually behind closed doors.

In its vote to close that portion of the meeting, the board cited reasons allowed under the state Sunshine Law: for discussion of hiring, firing, disciplining or promoting employees, and for discussion of disciplinary matters regarding students.

During a recess before the closed session, Caputo said he would not comment on any potential action the board might take. He said the board’s goal was to gather information from those who wanted to address the board.

“I would anticipate some decisions at some point,” he said. “We’re just going to listen to their concerns.”

Superintendent Rick Cook said school officials had conducted “thorough interviews” of those allegedly involved in the incident, but he declined to release details before the board meeting.

“We’ve gathered data the board is not privy of,” he said. “Our attorney is here tonight and will be giving us legal advice.”

Several parents and residents who were approached for interviews by the Globe declined to comment.

An undisclosed number of students in the Seneca High School football program attended the football camp the week of June 7 at Pittsburg State. Tim Beck, the PSU head football coach, was the host for the camp.

PSU provides dormitories, football fields and other accommodations for a series of football camps. PSU spokesman Ron Womble has said that while the camps take place at PSU, they are put on privately by the football coach. Students pay fees that are used to cover the cost of room and board, and are allowed to stay at Nation Hall, a dormitory.

Law enforcement personnel, PSU officials and Cook have previously declined to discuss the details of the alleged incident, including how many students may have been involved and what may have happened, citing the investigation.



Parent tip

A parent notified the Seneca School District about the alleged incident while the team was still at the camp at Pittsburg State University, Seneca Superintendent Rick Cook has said. School officials then notified university police and other state agencies.

1
Text Only
Local News
  • r072814dogbike.jpg Cross-country trip promotes animal adoption

    Where’s Bixby? Not the town in Oklahoma, but the dog on the back of a bicycle ridden by Mike Minnick. On Monday, the two were in Joplin, one stop on a cross-country bike trip to promote the adoption of dogs and cats from local shelters.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • Seneca man draws concurrent term in sexual abuse case

    A 39-year-old man who sexually abused a girl over a four-year period in both Joplin and Seneca received a 15-year sentence Monday in Newton County that will run concurrently with a term he received earlier this year in Jasper County.

    July 28, 2014

  • Defendant who pulled knife on ER doctor sent for treatment

    A man accused of pulling a knife on a Freeman Hospital West emergency room doctor pleaded guilty to a reduced charge Monday and was sentenced to the state prison system’s Institutional Treatment Center.

    July 28, 2014

  • Judge lifts seal on records in Parsons quadruple slaying

    A judge has rescinded his order sealing court records in the case of David Bennett Jr., who is accused of killing a Parsons woman and her three children.

    July 28, 2014

  • Wal-Mart to build second local Neighborhood Market

    A second Wal-Mart Neighborhood Market store is planned for Joplin. The company has filed an application with the city to rezone nearly six acres of land on the west side of town in the tornado zone to build a new Neighborhood Market and gas station.

    July 28, 2014

  • r072814mailcar.jpg VIDEO: Train mail car trailered on Joplin's Main Street to Redings Mill

    With a police escort leading the way Monday, postal car No. 34 breezed through downtown Joplin en route to its new home in Redings Mill, where it was greeted by a welcome party of local residents and railroad enthusiasts.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo 1 Slideshow

  • Anti-landfill group seeks grand jury probe

    As more than 200 people filed into Riverton High School on Sunday to attend an anti-landfill group meeting, many stopped to sign a petition asking the Cherokee County District Court to summon a grand jury to investigate how land was acquired by the city of Galena for a proposed landfill.

    July 27, 2014

  • 072814_jd anderson.jpg VIDEO: Noel strongman advances on talent show

    The past week has been busier than normal for Noel resident J.D. Anderson. Members of the production crew for NBC’s “America’s Got Talent” told him they have shot more footage of him than of other contestants for the next episode. “They said I have the busiest schedule of anyone this week,” Anderson told the Globe in a phone interview Friday. “There’s so many fun things you can do with B-roll as a strongman.”

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • AndraBryanStefanoni.jpg Andra Bryan Stefanoni: ‘Annie’ production is a family thing

    There’s a twist to this week’s production of “Annie” at Memorial Auditorium. The show, a beloved classic tale of an orphan girl in search of a family, is full of real-life family members.

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • 072514 Band Box.jpg Jo Ellis: Carthage icon continues to play in local restaurant

    Chicago Coin’s Band-Box, also known as “Strike Up the Band,” has been a Carthage icon since the mid- to late 1950s. Any customer who frequented Red’s Diner, or Ray’s Cafe, and now the Pancake Hut is familiar with the pulsating rhythms and movements of this mechanical device.

    July 27, 2014 2 Photos

Must Read
Sports
Photos


Facebook
Poll

Given that the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that electronic devices and communications are protected from searches and seizure without a warrant, do you think Missouri needs Amendment 9 added to its constitution?

A. Yes.
B. No.
     View Results
Opinion
Twitter Updates
Follow us on twitter