Carmel superintendent outlines policy changes

Four Carmel basketball players were charged with assaults on younger teammates.
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David MacAnally/Eyewitness News

Carmel - The Carmel Clay School Board got an update on efforts to curb hazing after an incident that led to students charged last school year.

Four former members of the high school basketball team are charged with acts against younger students on a team bus and locker room. They are awaiting trial.

The investigation led to changes to the student handbook, plans for training staff in dealing with harassment issues, meeting with coaches and even physical changes to locker rooms so staff can better see what student-athletes are doing.

Those steps have already been completed or are underway.

The district also revised an anti-hazing policy and strengthened it with briefings for all coaches and extracurricular sponsors. Student leaders and mentors are also charged with spreading the anti-hazing message.

"Class meetings have already been held across the board, freshmen through seniors, to make clear the anti-hazing and what are effective responses if you observe this happening, or if it happens to you," said Superintendent Jeff Swensson. "They need to have the back-up and understanding that they are supported and we won't tolerate that sort of behavior."

The school is also making changes to the locker room, so supervisors can better see what student-athletes are doing.

"Make sure that we have the kind of supervision that we need at all times," Swensson said.

Board members voiced approval on how school officials handled the policy changes.

"I truly appreciate the administration's follow up on this issue," said School Board President Andrew Klein.

Before the meeting, parents seemed to echo those sentiments.

"Yeah, I think they've addressed it, that's important," said one mother.

"It was probably not an easy task. I think it's sort of a new age and, probably, there wasn't something in place, and those things take time, so I guess I'm okay with the pace. I'd rather they get it right," said parent Angela Rosio.

Swensson also promised more regular updates on the policy enforcement.

The school board also voted to begin the process of possible restricting for the 2011-12 school year, citing three full elementary schools on the city's west side.