Updated: Thursday, 25 Feb 2010, 5:53 PM EST
Published : Thursday, 18 Feb 2010, 11:30 AM EST
CARMEL, Ind. (WISH) - An I-Team tip has lead to the revelation that three Carmel High School senior basketball players have been disciplined for bullying two freshmen team members.
According to students at the school, the three seniors were suspended for five days.
24-Hour News 8 has learned the incident took place on a bus following a game in Terre Haute on January 22. The older players allegedly called the freshman players to the back of the bus. Four coaches were on the bus at the time.
Principal John Williams tells 24-Hour News 8 he received a tip from a parent last week. The parent’s child had heard other students at the high school talking about the incident.
“We immediately starting investigating talking to witnesses, student athletes involved, coaches, and parents of student athletes” said Williams.
Williams feels satisfied that the situation was handled properly. He says privacy laws prohibit him from discussing what happened or the punishments he handed out. A check of the school district's policy on bullying found students can be suspended or expelled for bullying.
The disciplined players are said to be some of the school’s top athletes.
Principal John Williams released the following statement:
On Tuesday February 15th Carmel High School administration was made aware of a rumor of bullying involving student athletes who are members of our boys’ basketball team. The alleged incident occurred on the team bus ride home from an away game on January 22nd. Carmel High School administration investigated this by interviewing the students involved, witnesses, and coaches. Parents of these students were contacted and informed throughout this process. Appropriate, consistent, and immediate discipline was administered to those who participated. In addition the entire basketball team has been addressed by the Carmel High School administration. Carmel High School administration also contacted the Carmel Police Department informing them of the incident. Carmel Clay Schools will continue to provide a safe environment for students and take appropriate measures to ensure student safety.
News of the incident spread quickly inside and outside the school. Two recent graduates of the high school said they were aware of the bullying.
“I was a little shocked honestly there was not a lot going on bullying when we were there. I was honestly really surprised,” said Sonaal Joshi.
“I’d definitely say it’s unfortunate for the kids who got picked on it’s not fun to be there” said Curtis Weeks.
The school released a written statement from head basketball coach Mark Galloway. In the statement, Galloway says, “We talk about adversity throughout the season and this is a challenge. This is an opportunity for some kids and we have to keep our team goals in front of us.”
Carmel Police were notified, but no report was taken. The principal says the bullying did not rise to the level of a criminal offense.
24-Hour News 8's I-Team has done extensive reporting on the topic of bullying and, more specifically, cyberbullying.
Check out the latest I-Team story regarding cyberbullying in which a father is threatening to sue the state after his daughter committed suicide. The story also includes links to past I-Team coverage of the topic.
Friday at 5:30, I-Team 8 looks back at the investigation that prompted Indiana’s first bully law.