Fishers Swimming Student Accused of Sexual Harassment Allowed to Compete in State Finals
FISHERS, Ind.--The Board of Trustees at Hamilton Southeastern Schools applied for a waiver that allowed a Fishers High School swimmer accused of sexual harassment to swim in postseason competition, despite the fact that he had been suspended previously.
That waiver was granted and the boy was allowed to compete.
He had "substantiated claims" against him and is accused of sending inappropriate text messages to numerous girls on the Fishers High School team.
In early December, months after the texts began, several swimmers took their concerns to a teacher, who immediately reported the texts to Hamilton Southeastern Schools. While the school district launched a Title IX investigation, the student in question was not allowed to participate with the swim team and was required to do his school work at home.
Parents of female swimmers became upset when the school decided to allow that student to return to the swimming team and compete in postseason play.
The question about the rule that many are asking is "Why does the rule allow this to happen?" A question that was asked to IHSAA Commissioner Bobby Cox by 93 WIBC's Tony Katz.
"The rule is that you must be in 75% of the maximum number of events that the school schedules and 25% of the maximum that any school can schedule," Cox said.
That rule also provides for a waiver that a principal can ask for if the student doesn't meet the rule for circumstances outside the control of the student.
"Not only did the principal ask for the waiver and the athletic director asked for the waiver. I, in turn, called the Superintendent and let him know that was happening. That went all the way to their school board and the school board affirmed they wanted that young man to swim," Cox said.
Katz asked Cox if the IHSAA considered not allowing the boy to swim given the accusations against him.
"No, that discussion was never made by this office to the school. We're not in the business of adjudicating student discipline or athletic discipline for any of our member schools. That's why we have a principal. That's why we have an athletic director. That's why we have a superintendent and ultimately, that's why we have a school board. The IHSAA can't get involved in every value judgment of every student that's suspended across the state for something that happens at a local school," Cox responded.
Katz then asked Cox if a school asks for a waiver, do they automatically get it?
"In this case they do. Most all the time, we grant it. There are a variety of reasons. The reality is the membership asked for this rule," Cox said.
In a decision announced by the Board of Trustees Thursday afternoon, board members affirmed the investigation’s findings that female swimmers had been subjected to sexual harassment, and also affirmed the superintendent’s decision that the male swimmer should now be allowed to compete since the girl's season is over.
Fishers finished sixth at the state championships this past weekend.