Chandler school board president addresses Hamilton hazing allegations

The school board breaks its silence on alleged hazing on the Hamilton High School football team.

This story was originally published August 9, 2017. 

CHANDLER, Ariz. - A double tap of the gavel started a scheduled meeting of the Chandler Unified School District's governing board Wednesday. There was nothing in the agenda about allegations of hazing in the Hamilton High School locker room, and no talk about the notice of claim served to the district earlier in the day.

"We believe we've taken the actions that are justified at this point," Board President Robert Rice said prior to the meeting.

The notice of claim was filed on behalf of a fourth family who claims their son is a victim of the hazing.

Attorney Daniel Raynak confirmed the notice of claim was served to the Chandler Unified School District Wednesday afternoon prior to the board's meeting.

Raynak is now representing four families who seek damages totaling $28 million for alleged crimes they believe should have been reported to police dating back to 2015.

Despite the potential lawsuit and recommendation of charges against three Hamilton High employees, fewer than two dozen parents showed up to voice concerns. In fact, none of those parents were there to talk about hazing.

Rice did not shy away from answering questions from reporters just before taking his seat at the meeting.

"We're trying to do the right thing for all people involved. Students, parents, staff. We're not trying to hide anything. Trying to do the right thing and really relying on police and the county attorney, who are doing the investigation to help so we get the right facts," Rice said.

Chandler police already sent evidence to the county attorney which they believe will show Principal Ken James, former football coach Steve Belles, and Athletic Director Shawn Rustad knew about sexual assaults in the locker room and didn't report it.

"We're waiting to see what happens with the charges at the county attorney and we will take any subsequent actions at that point," Rice said.

Steve Belles is not currently coaching the football team at Hamilton, but is still teaching at the school. James and Shawn Rustad remain in their positions as the district awaits a decision from the county attorney.

© 2017 KPNX-TV


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