Saturday, September 24, 2016

Carroll, Iowa: Football Team Being Investigated for Online Bullying Against Gay Student // Updated Below

Originally written on 09/13/16The football team at Carroll High School in Carroll, IA, is under scrutiny today following reports that they engaged in anti-gay bullying on a group chat against another student:
The football players were in a group chat and were upset that another student, who is gay, was voted to the homecoming court. Superintendent Rob Cordes said the players already regret what he calls a stupid mistake. 

“Well I certainly think this gives some individual students a black eye, as well as the football team,” Cordes said. 

Cordes discovered a copy of a group chat in which players used slurs against the gay student on the homecoming court. 

The football players’ chat happened Friday night. One player's text said the gay student should kill himself, or go die. Another said he would drop out if the gay student stayed on the homecoming court.
It doesn't appear that the gay student was in the group chat. According to KCCI News, he indicated that this "should be a teachable moment for the entire school, not just the football players."

No punishment has been meted out against any of the football players at this time. Most likely, there will be a school assembly held to promote the message of tolerance to the student body.

You can watch a news segment about this story here.

Updated on 09/24/16: The Daily Times Herald of Carroll, IA, published a follow up article this week about this situation. The 17-year-old gay student was identified and we finally heard his perspective. It was interesting to read about his response to this news cast, particularly one of the interviews where the superintendent appeared to cast the bullying football players as partial victims in this situation:
The players have said they already regret the slurs. “And I can tell you for a fact there is a lot of them hurting,” Cordes said. “And some of the ones hurting are the ones that caused the problem.”
Here is how the Daily Times Herald reported the teen's response to the superintendent's attempt at damage control:
He watched Carroll Community School District Superintendent Rob Cordes on the screen, saying how sorry the texters were and that it was simply a stupid mistake — they were hurting, too. “It felt like everything in me from head to toe drained out,” Loew said. “I was numb.” He didn’t sleep that night. He changed his mind. He wasn’t going to let this go.
Incidentally, four of the football players were suspended from playing during at least one of the games for their involvement in the online bullying.

And the gay teen ended up being crowned as homecoming king.

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