Harrassment Allegations Stir Protests At Indiana High School Meet

A swimmer suspended for much of the high school season was granted a waiver to compete at an Indiana high school sectional meet, prompting protests from swimmers and parents.

The Indy Star reported on the controversy last week. The Fishers Police Department said in that story that it had an open harrassment case involving a Fishers High School student, and that the student was set to compete at a sectional swim meet the following weekend. The story identifies the student as a boy who is “one of the state’s top high school swimmers.”

The local NBC affiliate WTHR published a full-length piece earlier this week, quoting several members of the Fishers High School girls swim team. The girls say that the male swimmer in question sent disturbing texts to his female teammates. “He would start saying these really abusive things about girls,” one swimmer says in the story. “He would also say violent things he would do to other people that wasn’t sexual — violent things about the school.”

After several months of the messages, the girls say they went to a teacher who then reported the texts to school authorities. The result was a Title IX investigation, during which the male swimmer was not allowed to participate with the swim team, and had to complete his schoolwork from home. WTHR reports that the school district, Hamilton Southeastern Schools, sent letters to the families of some female swimmers, announcing that the district had found “substantiated cases of harrassment” and that the male swimmer “would not be allowed to swim or compete with the Fishers High School swim team.”

The boy’s attorney, though, says the school prematurely sent the letters to parents because the Title IX appeal process hadn’t yet concluded. He says that the text messages were “out of order and out of context,” per WTHR, noting that the male swimmer has a clean disciplinary record and a GPA above 4.0. The attorney says the boy is being “villainized” and that his academic and athletic career (the attorney says the swimmer has an offer to swim at a major university) “hang in the balance.”

Multiple news outlets now report that the swimmer was allowed to swim at his sectional meet, after the Indiana girls high school season had already ended. The formerly-suspended swimmer had missed enough time that he technically didn’t meet Indiana’s participation requirements and wouldn’t have been eligible for the post-season. But WTHR reports that the Fishers High School principal and athletic director personally called the Indiana High School Athletic Association to request a waiver for the male swimmer, allowing him to compete at sections and state.

The IHSAA says that “student and fan behavior in every aspect is the direct responsibility of the principal,” and that because the principal and athletic director asked for the waiver, IHSAA bylaws call for the state high school league to grant the waiver. The school wrote a letter to parents, explaining that the male swimmer would be allowed to swim at the boys sectional meet because he wouldn’t be competing with the girls team.

WTHR reports that more than 50 people showed up to the sectional meet on Saturday to protest the swimmer’s inclusion.

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J-Hawk Proud

Wow! Just sad that his behavior is being excused because the girls “aren’t around” anymore. No lesson was learned here, but a message was definitely sent. If you’re good, it doesn’t matter what you do. I hope college coaches avoid this swimmer because the behavior will only continue. The AD and principal just erased any respect the girls, other students, and families that were impacted, had for them. Just sad to see priorities be so screwed up. The male swimmer needs counseling to deal with why he’s making these choices and the principal and AD need to take a look in the mirror about the kids they want representing their school. Character is far more important than state swims.

BaldingEagle

“If you’re (fast, rich, good-looking, academically gifted, etc), the rules don’t apply.”

Kate

Anyone who would downvote a comment like this is 100% part of the problem ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Mardo4

The principal apparently with the AD filed to obtain a waiver to qualify for sectionals the male swimmer. AD and principal failed these girls.

Kate

Brock Turner in the making. We have to stop allowing behavior like this to result in little to no consequences. It’s important for the sentence to fit the crime, but why are we concerned about the future he himself put in jeopardy? What about the futures of all the girls he harassed, whose claims were substantiated? You’re sending them the message that his future matters more than their safety and well-being. When behavior like this is witnessed we all have a responsibility to call it out as unacceptable. Glad to hear the decision was protested.

PhillyMark

Sounds like a major problem for a major university

About Jared Anderson

Jared Anderson

Jared Anderson swam for nearly twenty years. Then, Jared Anderson stopped swimming and started writing about swimming. He's not sick of swimming yet. Swimming might be sick of him, though. Jared was a YMCA and high school swimmer in northern Minnesota, and spent his college years swimming breaststroke and occasionally pretending …

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