UPDATE: Sibley-Ocheyedan students expelled through the semester for bullying
SIBLEY, Iowa (KTIV) -
Two Sibley-Ocheyedan 8th grade football players who allegedly pinned down a teammate, and sent a sexually suggestive picture of the boy to other classmates, learned they will not be allowed back this semester.
Accused of assault with the intent to commit sexual abuse, they'll face more consequences if they return to the school next year.
They two teens face in-school suspension for the third quarter.
They must also do a presentation on bullying to the middle school, participate in a counseling program, and do community service.
They're banned from all extracurricular activities for the remainder of the school year.
The school board deliberated in a closed session for more than 2 hours before they came to this decision as nearly 100 parents and students waited patiently in the school's library.
Some were outraged they couldn't ask questions about the punishment the two boys will be facing.
But, under Iowa Law, board members don't have to discuss actions taken during closed session.
"There shall be no retaliation, that's either in person, or through social media, and that they will not be involved in any way in any type of bullying," School District Attorney Steve Avery said.
The Taylor family wanted the school board to take a stand against bullying, so that what happened to their son, won't happen again.
"We understand the school board was faced with a difficult decision. There are some adequate punishments that were handed down to the two students where they do have to show their public support to the school," Tom Taylor said.
The teens face criminal charges and the entire bullying incident was discussed in closed session, where both the victim and two of the alleged bullies faced the school board at certain points during the meeting.
"The families apologized to us. The kids apologized to us," Taylor said.
The Taylors said they read a statement requesting the board to expel the boys, pointing out how their son's situation is not an isolated incident, and "only the latest in a series of bullying incidents at Sibley-Ocheyedan involving sexual assault in the middle school this year."
So, does Saturday's decision go far enough?
"It's hard to say because they're kids and that makes it real difficult," Taylor added.
Neither of alleged bullies' families wanted to comment. But, other parents were vocal, saying they were outraged by the decision. Mandy Robertson said she moved her family out of Sibley, after her children were bullied in middle school.
"I think it's going to take, sadly to say, for one of these kids to lose their life. If it's not going to stop here with something like this, what is it going to have to take to get the school's attention?" Robertson said.
The Taylors are focused on changing policy and the environment at their childrens' school.
"I truly believe the next focus is administration, something has to be refocused in this community," Taylor said.
And, helping their son prepare for his classmates return.
The alleged incident happened on a school bus at an away football game in Rock Rapids.
So, the Lyon County Sheriff is leading the investigation.
He said on Friday the county had begun to file charges including assault with intent to commit sexual abuse, joint criminal conduct, and dissemination of obscene material.
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