STrib: Proctor HS football season canceled amid 'serious misconduct' investigation



BleedGopher

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Former Proctor football coach says he is a 'scapegoat' as investigation continues​


Bullying, harassment and threats to his family played a large part in his choice to resign this week, said former Proctor High School football coach and teacher Derek Parendo.

Head coach of the team since 2008, Parendo says he was watching his daughter play soccer in another town at the time of an alleged incident so egregious it led to the cancellation of the entire football season and a police investigation that has entered its fourth week with no resolution.

"We feel thrown out there to be a scapegoat," Parendo said.

A 1992 Proctor graduate who played high school football, Parendo said he doesn't know for certain what happened during the incident that allegedly occurred after practice on a September afternoon. He's not under police investigation, and is awaiting the results of police work like everyone else, he said. He was told about the allegations by the high school principal, he said, and days later, was suspended.

On Monday he resigned from his teaching and coaching roles and is on a paid personal leave for the remainder of the school year. He says he's been treated unfairly by district administration for years, and this case was no different.

"I was painted to be guilty, because when you send home a letter saying you are looking for new leadership, then you are pointing the finger at me to begin with," he said of communication sent by the district to football families.

Superintendent John Engelking did not immediately respond to a request for comment Thursday. District officials have cited privacy laws throughout the investigation, disclosing only that "serious" student misconduct has been alleged and is under investigation by the local police department.

Engelking has previously said in a public statement: "We will take action against substantiated misconduct and we will address any and all problems in the football program; we are absolutely confident that when the program resumes next season, we will be RailStrong by representing our families, school, and community in a positive way both on and off the field and by doing the right thing at all times."

Parendo said he's been the target of death threats in the wake of the investigation and slanderous taunts by students at school. He said his daughter has also been the target of harassment. An incident at school this week that included chanting about him and his daughter was the final straw, he said.

Matt Berger, a former Proctor boys basketball coach and middle school teacher who worked with Parendo, said Parendo resigning was him "putting the team, school and whole community ahead of himself."

"I honestly feel the quickest way to begin the community healing process was to have him step down and let the program start fresh," Berger said. "It was a selfless thing for him to do."

The allegations don't coincide with the culture Parendo says he promoted among his players: one of discipline and accountability. He calls it an "isolated incident."

The allegation "wrecks me," said Parendo, an assistant coach at Proctor under the late Dave Hylla, because coaches are constantly working to build character among their players. "We talk all the time about how you are part of Proctor football. People don't know your name; you are part of a group. You do things for others, not yourself."

While it has not been confirmed as an act of hazing, Parendo said hazing "is so foreign to us."

"I don't know any coaches who talk about it or deal with it," he said. "To me it's old culture, (past) generations."

Parendo said he took a construction job this week to keep busy.

A Proctor city administrator said the investigation is expected to wrap up this week.


Go Gophers!!
 

Some guy

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Former Proctor football coach says he is a 'scapegoat' as investigation continues​


Bullying, harassment and threats to his family played a large part in his choice to resign this week, said former Proctor High School football coach and teacher Derek Parendo.

Head coach of the team since 2008, Parendo says he was watching his daughter play soccer in another town at the time of an alleged incident so egregious it led to the cancellation of the entire football season and a police investigation that has entered its fourth week with no resolution.

"We feel thrown out there to be a scapegoat," Parendo said.

A 1992 Proctor graduate who played high school football, Parendo said he doesn't know for certain what happened during the incident that allegedly occurred after practice on a September afternoon. He's not under police investigation, and is awaiting the results of police work like everyone else, he said. He was told about the allegations by the high school principal, he said, and days later, was suspended.

On Monday he resigned from his teaching and coaching roles and is on a paid personal leave for the remainder of the school year. He says he's been treated unfairly by district administration for years, and this case was no different.

"I was painted to be guilty, because when you send home a letter saying you are looking for new leadership, then you are pointing the finger at me to begin with," he said of communication sent by the district to football families.

Superintendent John Engelking did not immediately respond to a request for comment Thursday. District officials have cited privacy laws throughout the investigation, disclosing only that "serious" student misconduct has been alleged and is under investigation by the local police department.

Engelking has previously said in a public statement: "We will take action against substantiated misconduct and we will address any and all problems in the football program; we are absolutely confident that when the program resumes next season, we will be RailStrong by representing our families, school, and community in a positive way both on and off the field and by doing the right thing at all times."

Parendo said he's been the target of death threats in the wake of the investigation and slanderous taunts by students at school. He said his daughter has also been the target of harassment. An incident at school this week that included chanting about him and his daughter was the final straw, he said.

Matt Berger, a former Proctor boys basketball coach and middle school teacher who worked with Parendo, said Parendo resigning was him "putting the team, school and whole community ahead of himself."

"I honestly feel the quickest way to begin the community healing process was to have him step down and let the program start fresh," Berger said. "It was a selfless thing for him to do."

The allegations don't coincide with the culture Parendo says he promoted among his players: one of discipline and accountability. He calls it an "isolated incident."

The allegation "wrecks me," said Parendo, an assistant coach at Proctor under the late Dave Hylla, because coaches are constantly working to build character among their players. "We talk all the time about how you are part of Proctor football. People don't know your name; you are part of a group. You do things for others, not yourself."

While it has not been confirmed as an act of hazing, Parendo said hazing "is so foreign to us."

"I don't know any coaches who talk about it or deal with it," he said. "To me it's old culture, (past) generations."

Parendo said he took a construction job this week to keep busy.

A Proctor city administrator said the investigation is expected to wrap up this week.


Go Gophers!!
Interesting to say the least. Also interesting they’re paying him the rest of the year (for now).

It is interesting to me that people want it to be hazing and want to be the football programs fault. It could be a case that it is the kids who did it who are at fault.

obviously the story just has coach’s side and school can’t comment. Coach would have to be pretty dumb to condone hazing any time after about 1996. At some point when 16-18 year old kids mess up we should probably hold them accountable rather than blame the adults who weren’t there for having a bad culture. Maybe it’ll come out that the coach condoned it either explicitly or by having knowledge and ignoring it. But short of those two things I tend to blame the perpetrators rather than the football coaches.
 

Mulligan

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Interesting to say the least. Also interesting they’re paying him the rest of the year (for now).

It is interesting to me that people want it to be hazing and want to be the football programs fault. It could be a case that it is the kids who did it who are at fault.

obviously the story just has coach’s side and school can’t comment. Coach would have to be pretty dumb to condone hazing any time after about 1996. At some point when 16-18 year old kids mess up we should probably hold them accountable rather than blame the adults who weren’t there for having a bad culture. Maybe it’ll come out that the coach condoned it either explicitly or by having knowledge and ignoring it. But short of those two things I tend to blame the perpetrators rather than the football coaches.
 


Mulligan

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Actually, contrary to what some have stated here, this sorry incident fits the classic definitions of hazing. Just Google "Legal definitions of hazing."

Here is part of the Michigan law concerning hazing: "The Act defines hazing as: an intentional, knowing, or reckless act by a person acting alone or with others that is directed against an individual and that endangers the physical health or safety of the individual, done for the purpose of pledging, being initiated into, affiliating with, participating in, holding office in, or maintaining membership in any organization." You've got people who are dominant in a group humiliating another individual so he supposedly can be part of a group. Also, contrary to what some have stated, a lot of studies state that even low level hazing doesn't promote group cohesion and bonding.
 


Some guy

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Actually, contrary to what some have stated here, this sorry incident fits the classic definitions of hazing. Just Google "Legal definitions of hazing."

Here is part of the Michigan law concerning hazing: "The Act defines hazing as: an intentional, knowing, or reckless act by a person acting alone or with others that is directed against an individual and that endangers the physical health or safety of the individual, done for the purpose of pledging, being initiated into, affiliating with, participating in, holding office in, or maintaining membership in any organization." You've got people who are dominant in a group humiliating another individual so he supposedly can be part of a group. Also, contrary to what some have stated, a lot of studies state that even low level hazing doesn't promote group cohesion and bonding.
If only one guy on the team had it done to him, it’s not hazing…it an assault.
 

Wally

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While it has not been confirmed as an act of hazing, Parendo said hazing "is so foreign to us."

"I don't know any coaches who talk about it or deal with it," he said. "To me it's old culture, (past) generations."
Not the correct answer. I don't think its his fault, but hazing and the like is definitely something that should be talked about.
 



Ewert86PC

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If only one guy on the team had it done to him, it’s not hazing…it an assault.
If every guy in the team has it done to him, it is assault. There is no quantity exemption or excuse.
 

Some guy

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If every guy in the team has it done to him, it is assault. There is no quantity exemption or excuse.
Correct: but hazing + assualt Carries different ramifications for those in charge than just an assault

For the perpetrators it should be no different
 

A_Slab_of_Bacon

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Not the correct answer. I don't think its his fault, but hazing and the like is definitely something that should be talked about.
Yeah kinda a strange comment.

Not talking about it doesn't really make sense that it means not happening or... that you shouldn't talk about it.

I think I get what he was trying to say but wonky answer.
 





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Hope they get the conviction. And this guy didn't act alone. Hope the prosecution gets the names of everyone else involved and puts them behind bars as well.
 

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Traumatic for the victim and if the quote released by the media from the perpetrator is accurate he has serious issues but needs to be prosecuted.
 

BleedGopher

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Per the link:

According to police, a third party over Labor Day weekend sent a lewd photo to a group of Proctor football players on the social media platform Snapchat, using the victim's phone and Snapchat account. It prompted a response over the platform that the victim was "going to get the plunger." Interviews with football players revealed that a plunger was regularly used during "crass" locker-room behaviors, such as touching other players with the rubber end. None of those stories shared involved sexual assault.

After practice Sept. 7, the petition says, between 5 and 5:30 p.m., the victim was in the locker room across the street from the high school when he was confronted by the suspect with the plunger. He fled outside toward the field, thinking it was just another plunger joke, and was chased by the suspect and other players, at least some of whom allegedly held him down for the assault.

Witnesses told police they thought the suspect was joking until the moment he pulled the victim's pants down, and many reported being unsure who helped hold him down. After the alleged attack, the suspect threw the plunger at the victim, the petition says, and returned to the locker room saying, "I did it" and "I bet you guys didn't think I was going to do it."

Go Gophers!!
 

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Per the link:

According to police, a third party over Labor Day weekend sent a lewd photo to a group of Proctor football players on the social media platform Snapchat, using the victim's phone and Snapchat account. It prompted a response over the platform that the victim was "going to get the plunger." Interviews with football players revealed that a plunger was regularly used during "crass" locker-room behaviors, such as touching other players with the rubber end. None of those stories shared involved sexual assault.

After practice Sept. 7, the petition says, between 5 and 5:30 p.m., the victim was in the locker room across the street from the high school when he was confronted by the suspect with the plunger. He fled outside toward the field, thinking it was just another plunger joke, and was chased by the suspect and other players, at least some of whom allegedly held him down for the assault.

Witnesses told police they thought the suspect was joking until the moment he pulled the victim's pants down, and many reported being unsure who helped hold him down. After the alleged attack, the suspect threw the plunger at the victim, the petition says, and returned to the locker room saying, "I did it" and "I bet you guys didn't think I was going to do it."

Go Gophers!!
This might be the most poorly constructed series of paragraphs I’ve ever read. If anything, I’m now more confused.
Well done, Strib!
 



Some guy

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Not sure how you read that story and think the coach and athletics director should get fired

Touching someone with a dirty plunger was the thing preceding this event…for some reason that doesn’t to me seem like a slipper slope to sexual assault in most cases.
 

Gophers_4life

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So, the one kid ... stuck the plunger handle ... up there? Jezuz

And the others held him down?? I get that they didn't think he was going to do it. But when he pulled the pants down, don't you go "whoa dude! what the hell??" and tackle him?
 

State of Football

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By no means is this minimizing the crime that occurred, but I wonder if this specific incident would have occurred pre-pandemic. I know these sick types of crime occurred prior to, but our youth (adults as well) has to re-learn how behave in society. I feel for students across our country. Coaches, teachers and administrators will tell you they’re seeing behaviors they never have. Very sad times were in…
 

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By no means is this minimizing the crime that occurred, but I wonder if this specific incident would have occurred pre-pandemic. I know these sick types of crime occurred prior to, but our youth (adults as well) has to re-learn how behave in society. I feel for students across our country. Coaches, teachers and administrators will tell you they’re seeing behaviors they never have. Very sad times were in…
It's hard to say. The impact of the pandemic/lock-ins is going to be drastic and really difficult to calculate. That impact has to have an exponential impact for kids.

That said, this sounds to me more like it's driven by social media and things like the Paul brothers and various youtubers who found their fame doing extreme idiotic stunts. To me, it sounds like the guy who assaulted the other guy was trying to be "extreme". It's like when Logan Paul filmed a dead body of a person who just committed suicide.

You'd think these things would be incredibly easy for young people to see as wrong even considering young adults/teenagers have a more difficult time drawing that line in the sand. Maybe the pandemic also plays a part in that inability. It can't help.
 

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So, the one kid ... stuck the plunger handle ... up there? Jezuz

And the others held him down?? I get that they didn't think he was going to do it. But when he pulled the pants down, don't you go "whoa dude! what the hell??" and tackle him?
The article is so poorly written that it's hard to tell, but it sounds like "getting the plunger" for everyone meant that you would plunge them with the rubber end. That's odd and maybe I'm missing something, but that's less "sexual assaulty" than the wooden end. If you're ever in a position where you are holding people down to take off their pants, you're in the wrong (so I'm not defending those kids).
 

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It's hard to say. The impact of the pandemic/lock-ins is going to be drastic and really difficult to calculate. That impact has to have an exponential impact for kids.

That said, this sounds to me more like it's driven by social media and things like the Paul brothers and various youtubers who found their fame doing extreme idiotic stunts. To me, it sounds like the guy who assaulted the other guy was trying to be "extreme". It's like when Logan Paul filmed a dead body of a person who just committed suicide.

You'd think these things would be incredibly easy for young people to see as wrong even considering young adults/teenagers have a more difficult time drawing that line in the sand. Maybe the pandemic also plays a part in that inability. It can't help.
Agreed
 

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It's hard to say. The impact of the pandemic/lock-ins is going to be drastic and really difficult to calculate. That impact has to have an exponential impact for kids.

That said, this sounds to me more like it's driven by social media and things like the Paul brothers and various youtubers who found their fame doing extreme idiotic stunts. To me, it sounds like the guy who assaulted the other guy was trying to be "extreme". It's like when Logan Paul filmed a dead body of a person who just committed suicide.

You'd think these things would be incredibly easy for young people to see as wrong even considering young adults/teenagers have a more difficult time drawing that line in the sand. Maybe the pandemic also plays a part in that inability. It can't help.
I actually kind of wonder if these types of behaviors are actually less frequent now - with cell phone cameras and security cameras, paired with greater awareness of sexual assault. Years ago I think this kind of thing could have happened and there wouldn't have been evidence and/or people wouldn't have felt empowered to speak out about it.

Either way, feel so bad for the victim. Hopefully he gets the right help and doesn't suffer any long-term effects.
 

Some guy

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The article is so poorly written that it's hard to tell, but it sounds like "getting the plunger" for everyone meant that you would plunge them with the rubber end. That's odd and maybe I'm missing something, but that's less "sexual assaulty" than the wooden end. If you're ever in a position where you are holding people down to take off their pants, you're in the wrong (so I'm not defending those kids).
Yeah it’s really oddly written in that it is purporting itself as an account of what happened but never actually says what allegedly happened. Just dances around it and let’s you fill in the gap.

I read it like this…guys sometimes mess with each other using a rubber end of a plunger and so the people holding him down didn’t see this coming…to me implying it wasn’t the rubber end. But with the article so lacking specifics it’s naturally that people will read it differently
 
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Bob_Loblaw

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I actually kind of wonder if these types of behaviors are actually less frequent now - with cell phone cameras and security cameras, paired with greater awareness of sexual assault. Years ago I think this kind of thing could have happened and there wouldn't have been evidence and/or people wouldn't have felt empowered to speak out about it.

Either way, feel so bad for the victim. Hopefully he gets the right help and doesn't suffer any long-term effects.
Yeah, I don't know. It's hard to say. It's hard for me to say, because I only know my experiences. I was in HS 20 years ago now and I had never heard of any kind of hazing that was this bizarre. I had heard rumors (even before Old School) of the cinder block thing and we used to laugh at how no one would ever do that. That said, I'm sure if you asked 99.9999% of HS students now if they'd ever sodomize a classmate with a plunger as part of hazing, they'd be equally as disturbed.

So yeah, it's hard to say.
 





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