Ann Arbor Public Schools concludes initial football brawl investigation; superintendent releases statement
Ann Arbor Public Schools has concluded the initial phase of its investigation into the on-field brawl that took place following the high school football game between Huron and Pioneer high schools on Friday.
Superintendent Patricia Green released a statement on the district's website on Thursday.
Green's statement did not state how many players will be suspended from each team. Though district director of communications Liz Margolis previously stated the number of players suspended would be released, she said on Thursday the district eventually decided against doing that.
"Our HR department and administration decided that's not something we're going to be releasing due to the district's privacy policies," Margolis said.
Meanwhile, Lt. Bob Pfannes of the Ann Arbor Police Department said the incident remains an ongoing investigation, and he has no updates to release. Detectives are reviewing evidence and conducting interviews, he added.
Here is the statement:
Dear AAPS Families, Staff and the Ann Arbor Community,
The Ann Arbor Public Schools has completed the initial phase of the investigation concerning the incident surrounding the football game between Ann Arbor Huron High School and Ann Arbor Pioneer High School on Friday, October 12, 2012. This unfortunate incident started when a verbal confrontation began between the two head coaches during the late phases of the game. The ensuing heated conversation carried on after the game when the coaches met mid-field. An assistant coach from Pioneer became involved in the verbal altercation between the head coaches and reacted in an aggressive and physical manner, allegedly pushing the Huron head coach. This assistant coach has been released from his coaching duties at AAPS and is not on staff with AAPS in any other capacity. This type of behavior will not be tolerated.
The two head coaches have been issued a one game suspension from the Michigan High School Athletic Association (MHSAA) and one game suspension from the Ann Arbor Public Schools. These suspensions will be served concurrently. These suspensions are due to the coaches’ flagrant unsportsmanlike conduct. AAPS is very disappointed with the behavior of these coaches and lack of sportsmanship and leadership on and off the field. Their actions did not demonstrate the expectations of a head coach of an Ann Arbor Public School athletic team.
Involved student athletes from the Huron and Pioneer football teams were suspended for the next scheduled game, this Friday, October 19, 2012. It is the policy of the Ann Arbor Public Schools to not release the names or the discipline action of students.
The investigation continues by both the Ann Arbor Public Schools and by the Ann Arbor Police Department. AAPS reserves the right to issue further discipline upon discovery of additional incriminating evidence.
As part of the response to the incident, both football teams met with the coaches. Apologies were made to the teams from the head coaches. Both head coaches have also apologized to the student body at their schools. An email and phone message went home to Huron and Pioneer families delivered jointly from the two principals. As Superintendent of Schools I issued a statement to the community which has been posted on the district website since Monday.
The student athletes have taken steps to move forward and heal as team members. The captains of the football teams met with school staff and the coaches this week to discuss specific ways they can work together to show solidarity. The captains are exploring some concrete ways to serve their community such as working with Alpha House and the Salvation Army. The teams are also investigating hosting football clinics for junior football players and the captains will be issuing a message jointly to the two schools.
Both Huron and Pioneer have already begun to heal from this incident. Apologies have been expressed, discipline has been issued to the offending coaches and students. The majority of our students acted maturely and properly on the field and off, demonstrating their leadership by standing together to show the community they are true student athletes.
I want to thank the AAPS community for supporting our students and the District during this most unfortunate and regrettable incident.
Pete Cunningham covers sports for AnnArbor.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @petcunningham