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Peabody Public Schools Announce Completion of Investigation into Inappropriate Video Involving Football Team Members

for immediate posting

PEABODY – Superintendent Josh Vadala has announced that an investigation into the facts and circumstances surrounding an online video featuring the Peabody High School football team has been completed.

On Saturday, November 27, a parent contacted a school official about a video circulating among students on social media purporting to show members of the soccer team engaging in inappropriate behavior.

An investigation was promptly conducted and several of the participating students were identified. Officials met with these students and their parents/guardians to establish the facts of what had happened, and the students and family members cooperated fully.

A county investigation found that student-athletes on the soccer team entered the locker room after practice on November 18. Student-athletes are not permitted to be in the locker room without the supervision of coaches or athletic staff.

In the video, the student athletes simulated sexual activity while they were dressed. In the video, a student athlete is heard using racist and homophobic insults.

The investigation found that the student-athletes violated school policies and the code of sports conduct, but found that the behavior did not meet the legal definition of harassment or bullying.

In line with district policies and procedures, a high school resource officer at the Peabody Police Department has been notified. The Peabody School Department is collaborating with the realization of that department.

The participating student-athletes were disciplined in a manner consistent with the Student-Athletes Handbooks. Peabody Public Schools is also working to establish an appropriate level of discipline for coaching staff for violations of school policies in connection with the supervision of student-athletes.

In line with district policy, the Massachusetts Athletics Association has been notified.

We do not tolerate this kind of behaviour. Our school culture should reflect our best nature, of kindness and respect rather than inappropriateness, and we will make sure that students understand the impact of their actions on others,” said Supervisor Vadala. “We took this very seriously from the start and addressed it in a manner consistent with our policies, procedures and values ​​as a society school.”

Peabody Public Schools will now require additional training for all student athletes and all coaches to recognize, prevent and respond to bullying. The district will also start a program of external speakers who will address all students about gambling and cultural competence.

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