Football coach, players face discipline after alleged incident in Vista High locker room – NBC 7 San Diego
Players and a coach in the Vista High School football program are facing disciplinary action after alleged locker room incidents involving a freshman player sparked school district and law enforcement investigations.
Footage of one of the alleged incidents, which the Vista Unified School District and San Diego County Sheriff’s Department confirmed was the focus of their investigations, has been widely shared on social media. It shows student-athletes picking up a 14-year-old boy and carrying him to a room in the locker room and pushing him to the ground.
NBC 7’s Mari Payton has the latest on the investigation.
The alleged victim has not made any sexual assault claims, but Vista Unified School District Superintendent Matt Doyle said the district investigated the possibility. The Sheriff’s Department also said the incident was initially reported as a sexual assault, but determined the nature of the alleged assault was not sexual after speaking with the 14-year-old, his mother , his students and school staff.
Two incidents, one on August 31 and a second on September 1, were reported to the SDSO on September 2, according to the department. The boy in the video was not injured, according to the SDSO.
NBC 7’s Dave Summers spoke to the district superintendent about the investigation and heard the parents’ concerns.
“At this point, I can confirm that the students involved are receiving appropriate sanctions,” Doyle wrote in a letter to the school community sent Tuesday. No further details about student discipline were mentioned, but Doyle’s letter said the Vista High’s head coach was on leave until the district’s investigation is complete.
“I want to get a full read of the climate and conduct that may be taking place among team members,” Doyle wrote in the letter, adding that the coach was furloughed to “provide an environment conducive to reports”.
On Monday evening, Doyle confirmed that a student-athlete charged in the incident was now being investigated by law enforcement for allegations of school shooting threats made on social media.
“We take all threats to our schools seriously. We are in communication with school officials and will continue to work together to ensure a safe environment for students. Sheriff’s deputies will be at the school out of an abundance of caution,” said Lt. Ricardo of the SDSO. said Lopez.
A private investigation into the locker room incident began on Monday, according to Doyle, and deputies are continuing to investigate the alleged incident. Anyone with information about the incident is asked to contact the district’s Human Relations Department or email Private Investigator Howard Fulfrost at [email protected]
“I want to assure our school community, all students, families and our staff, that student safety is always a top priority, and in this situation, we will not be deterred from taking appropriate action based on the facts. collected in these investigations,” reads Doyle’s letter.
A parent meeting for the football players’ families is scheduled for 5.30pm on Monday in the school library, at which more details will be provided and questions about the allegations are expected to be answered.
Doyle also cautioned the community against jumping to conclusions while the investigation is ongoing.
“We need to be sensitive to students, families and staff who were not involved in the incident but are negatively impacted by the language of social media. There are many student-athletes on the football team who have absolutely no involvement in this incident and deserve to be treated with respect and kindness,” Doyle said.
On Tuesday afternoon, students and parents protesting outside the school accused the district of being slow to act and not being transparent.
On Monday, Principal David Jaffe sent a letter to parents informing them of the situation and outlining an immediate safety action plan for students. Some of the plans include counseling services and increased daily dressing room monitoring by coaches, with administrative oversight.