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CPS: No evidence of wrongdoing during Jackson football game


An investigation into student conduct at a high school football game found no sign of misconduct, according to Columbia Public Schools.

The district said in a report issued Tuesday that it was "not able to substantiate the accounts or allegations made regarding the events that reportedly took place during the game."

The investigation was prompted by the Battle High School football game at Jackson High School on Sept. 27.

Following the game, CPS parents raised concerns on social media that racial slurs were used by the Jackson crowd and that the visitor's locker room was damaged.

CPS administrators reviewed security camera footage without audio, according to a district statement.

The investigation found that only authorized personnel entered and exited the locker room. Photos provided by a Battle administrator showed a locker door off its hinges with its screws "placed neatly on the edge of the locker and the items in the locker are folded and appear to be undisturbed."

The visiting locker room at Jackson High School after the game against Battle. Courtesy CPS.

Without audio, footage of the field showed little in regards to the claims that racial slurs were used by players. Battle High School coaches communicated with the officiating crew from the game.

"No official reports have been filed with (the Missouri State High School Activities Association) regarding player, coach, referee or fan conduct during the game," the district said.

Allegations that Jackson students inappropriately touched Battle cheerleaders were also unsubstantiated by the district's investigation. Footage showed only two instances in which a Battle cheerleader came into contact with a Jackson student, and the district said neither was inappropriate.

The district turned over the case to its Human Resources Department "as a personnel matter." District spokeswoman Michell Baumstark cited legal protections for personnel information in not elaborating on what employee was involved.

ABC 17 News obtained statements from Jackson School District officials, including Superintendent Dr. John Link and JHS Athletic Director John Martin, regarding its investigation into what happened on and off the field.

The district's findings, which you can read below, said that there was "damage done" to Battle's locker room, including urine on the floor and walls.

"Doors were ripped off lockers, mayonnaise packets were opened and contents squeezed out in the lockers as well (as) bananas smashed in lockers," the statement said.

The athletic director for Battle High School, Alex Huck, said in a statement on the incident that the team suggested others damaged the locker room.

Multiple players told Huck that the locker room was in "complete disarray" when they returned after the game. One player said it appeared someone had "rifled through" his bag between the start and end of the game.

Read the full statement from Huck below.

A request for records also revealed internal CPS messages. Michelle Baumstark, the district's communications director, said in an email to other CPS staff, "Guys... We don't look good here."

"Sounds like we had a poor display of sportsmanship and we need to get to the bottom of who was in the locker room supervising our athletes," Baumstark wrote on Oct. 1.

Article Topic Follows: Education
battle high school
columbia public schools
jackson high school
racial slurs

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Barry Mangold

Barry Mangold reports for ABC 17 News on weekday evenings and anchors weekend evening broadcasts.


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