It’s been a few months since Grant High School was hit with allegations of hazing, followed by an onslaught of damaging media reports. Students have returned to their daily habits, athletes are no longer on edge and there is a new standard in sports around the school.
Grant Magazine (Special Report: Hazing at Grant, February 2012) was the first to report that the Portland Police Bureau’s investigation into the incident had ended and that there would be no charges filed. On Feb. 27, police Lt. Robert King told KGW (8) that the investigation was ongoing, though he suspected it would end shortly. He implied that our story was incorrect and that someone would be charged.
We stood by our report.
A day after King claimed the investigation was ongoing, the Multnomah County District Attorney’s office confirmed our report. The office announced that indeed, there would be no charges filed and that the Police Bureau was handing the case over to Multnomah County juvenile authorities. Days later, the case was closed with no arrests or charges.
Vice Principal Curtis Wilson says that following the magazine’s report, administrators were pleased with the stories and their impact.
“The administration made changes where coaches need to be accountable at all times for players during games and practices,” he says. “We feel confident knowing we made these changes.”
Some of these changes have made it difficult for groups to assemble without an adult. Not only did the adjustments affect athletic programs, they dictated that other extracurricular activities – Mock Trial, Constitution Team and the Student Store to name a few – now require an adult to be present at all times.
There have also been an array of coaching changes. The varsity girls basketball coach, Kara Sandoval, will not return next season. Her position was filled by Michael Bontemps, a former coach at Jefferson and Parkrose.
As for boys basketball, Coach Tony Broadous stepped down as well.
“I have resigned from my position as the Head Men’s Basketball Coach at Grant High School,” said Broadous in an e-mail to OregonLive.com. Despite his accomplishments over the years, Broadous said “the time is right for me to explore other basketball opportunities.”
Administrators are interviewing candidates to replace him. No decision has been made yet.
But one thing is clear for the coaches that remain and those who will be replacing the open positions: there is a new standard for athletics at Grant. With the negative publicity the school received this winter and the subsequent classroom discussions, all students are aware of what the school expects of them. Combined with a no-tolerance policy for hazing and horseplay, the bar has been raised. Not only are teachers and coaches held to a different standard, but students are, too.
In a letter to the school community that was distributed in the magazine, the six boys involved in the Jan. 12 incident wrote: “We urge all students throughout Grant High School and across PPS to talk to an adult, teacher or staff member when hazing happens. Don’t fall into the ‘snitching’ trap.
“We have been relieved to be able to talk with each other and sort out what really happened, make apologies where needed and come to an understanding about the event,” they wrote. “We are ready to see closure to this so we can move forward with our friendships and lives at school.”