3 leaders recalled in school district facing hazing scandal
Aug. 03, 2018
COLFAX, N.D. (AP) — Voters have recalled three school board members in a southeastern North Dakota district where five high school boys face juvenile charges for alleged hazing that authorities say included sexually assaulting other students in the boys locker room.
Lisa Amundson, Josh Mjoness and Sarah Myers were voted out in a recall election Thursday that was prompted by a citizen petition drive. Amundson, who had been president of the Richland 44 district board, declined to comment about her ouster when reached by The Associated Press on Friday. And WDAY-TV reported that neither the winners nor losers of the election responded to the station's requests for comment.
Authorities in mid-February referred five teens to juvenile court following alleged misconduct in the boys locker room at the Colfax school, which has 160 students. The offenses allegedly committed against other boys included felonious restraint, terrorizing, hazing and sexual assault.
Authorities said there were 11 counts of sexual assault, but they did not specify how many of the five boys face that charge.
The school's superintendent resigned, the principal retired and the athletic director also departed, though it's unclear whether he was fired or resigned. New Superintendent Dean Koppelman declined to discuss the recall election with KVLY-TV.
Langevin Lentz, a Minneapolis law firm that conducted an investigation for the school board, released a report in April that said poor policies, training and supervision at the school contributed to a culture that allowed misconduct, including possible sexual assaults, for several years.
The firm detailed reports from parents of what had come to be known in the community as the "rape game." The term was described in a number of ways, from finger-poking of the buttocks through clothes to students being restrained and anally penetrated with fingers, according to the firm, which interviewed school officials and teachers, but not students.
Many residents in the community of 150 people about 30 miles (50 kilometers) south of Fargo said they want to put the scandal behind them.
"This town is ready to move forward," Vanessa Kummer told KVLY. "We had a situation that we dealt with, and I think it was dealt with in a pretty open manner."
"We have to learn from our mistakes and I'm thinking we all did, and put the rumors aside and quit the garbage, and just make this year the best year we can," Deb Mitscog told KVLY.