Minnesota School Brings in Investigator Amid Homecoming ‘Hazing’ Incident Investigation
Earlier this week Darrin Strosahl, Superintendent of the Plainview-Elgin-Millville School District (P-E-M), sent district families a letter that informed them of what is described as a “small number of students” violating the district’s code of conduct policy in an incident that occurred off of school grounds.
The incident led to the cancellation of several events that are part of the community’s homecoming celebration. On Wednesday, Stoshahl sent a new letter to parents that indicated the district has brought in an independent investigator to aid in the district’s investigation of the incident.
Stoshal says the district is also continuing to work closely with the Plainview Police Department. The letter says district administrators have obtained a video that depicted behavior that Stoshal says “has no place in our community or PEM Schools.”
Stroshal says officials have not been able to authenticate the video or identify the individuals who are in it. The P-E-M School Board is set to hold a closed-door meeting to discuss private education data on a future date.
In an email exchange earlier this week with KROC-AM News, Strosahl said, “From what we found out- it was a "prank" that was a bad idea- not funny- and the group of kids grew and it went too far unfortunately without students being an independent voice to stop it (mob mentality).”
Plainview Police Chief, Jason Timm reportedly said, “There was a potential hazing incident that a kid was possibly tied up, made fun of, possibly assaulted, left by himself for a while.”
P-E-M is also making counselors available for students. “I want to apologize for the disruption this incident and the behaviors of our students have caused our school district community. It has overshadowed what was intended to be a positive celebration to bring people together in support of PEM,” part of Strosahl’s letter says.
The full letter is available below:
Dear Families, As many of you know, there was an incident that took place last week off school grounds and in the evening. A small number of our students violated the Plainview-Elgin-Millville Community Schools code of conduct with their behavior, and we have implemented corrective actions in accordance with our policies. We have also been in close collaboration with local law enforcement throughout our entire investigation process. I want to apologize for the disruption this incident and the behaviors of our students have caused our school district community. It has overshadowed what was intended to be a positive celebration to bring people together in support of PEM. I recognize that many members of our school community would like us to provide student names and consequences. It would be illegal to do so. Please understand that we are obligated to protect the identity of students and are prohibited from sharing confidential student information. What we can share is that certain behaviors were unacceptable and we issued corrective actions. We will continue to investigate as new information becomes available. In that manner, we are involving an independent investigator in the on-going investigation. The school board will be meeting in a closed session according to Minnesota Statute 13D.05, Subd.2 (a) at a future date to discuss educational data that is not public. We can and must be a school community where we treat one another with respect, kindness, and dignity. We continue to work with students on repairing and building positive relationships. In the days since the communication we sent to all PEM families last Friday, school and district administrators have just been notified of and given access to a video through the media from an anonymous source. While we are unable to authenticate the video or identify individuals, the behavior depicted in the video has no place in our community or PEM Schools. We will continue to address any new information that becomes available, but cannot reveal private educational data under Minnesota law. Finally, if your student needs any support please know that our counselors are available at any time. Please have them stop by the counselor’s office if they would like to talk. We are here to support our students in any way we can. As I shared last week, our most important priority is the safety and wellbeing of our students. Thank you for your attention to this important update. Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any additional questions or concerns. My office number is (507) 534-3651 and my email is email@example.com Sincerely, Superintendent, PEM Schools
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