A story Saucon Source first reported Wednesday today resulted in the issuance of a statement by the Southern Lehigh School District, in which it said that an incident involving members of the school’s football team that occurred last fall involved “inappropriate behavior,” but did not involve hazing or any type of sexual assault.
Superintendent Kathleen Evison said Thursday that the district learned of an allegation of player misconduct that occurred “within the last few days.”
“This report was the first time the district was made aware of the conduct,” Evison said. “At this time we have completed the investigation and while there was behavior among some players that was inappropriate and not in line with our expectations of student athlete behavior, there was no evidence shared with the district that would suggest a hazing situation or that it was a sexual assault.”
She did not explain how the investigation was conducted, what evidence was reviewed or how a determination was made that inappropriate behavior as opposed to hazing had occurred.
“The incident and behavior of students will continue to be handled by administrators, coaches and the athletic program in accordance with our policies and code of conduct,” Evison said.
Lehigh County District Attorney Jim Martin confirmed Wednesday that a county detective had been assigned to investigate what happened, but told Lehigh Valley Live that it did not appear anything of a criminal nature had taken place. On Thursday his office told the Morning Call it doesn’t consider what happened to be an instance of hazing.
Merriam-Webster defines hazing as “an initiation process involving harassment.”
Google Dictionary defines hazing as “humiliating and sometimes dangerous initiation rituals, especially as imposed on college students seeking membership to a fraternity or sorority.”
“The practice of hazing in connection with any Southern Lehigh School District sport, club, or activity sponsored by or affiliated in any with with (sic) Southern Lehigh School District is strictly forbidden,” the high school handbook states.
Evison told the Morning Call the incident that was investigated involved three students “who came up with an idea, completely, mutually, to do something silly. [There was] no victim, nobody harmed.”
That contradicts what sources have told Saucon Source, and in an email to publisher Josh Popichak Evison questioned those sources, stating that “some of the details reported to you may not have been accurate.”
In several emails Saucon Source has received since Wednesday’s story was published, individuals who claim to have knowledge of what happened have independently said the details of the case as they were initially reported were accurate.
Emails both critical of the district and supportive of it and its football program have been received.
Evison said that since the investigation involves students, “no further details can be shared about the investigation or outcomes.”
The investigation into the incident resulted in the postponement of the Southern Lehigh football program’s spring activities.