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NCSD Board Member Suggests Changes to Code of Conduct After Family of Sexual Assault Victim Speaks Out

Natrona County School Assault Victim Speaks Out

April 13, 2022|Local News, State Regional News
Natrona County School District

(NCSD Board Member Suggests Changes to Code of Conduct After Family of Sexual
Assault Victim Speaks Out)

By Seth Hancock
Dave Applegate, treasurer for the Natrona County School District’s Board of Education,
suggested changes to the code of conduct for athletic participants at the April 11 board meeting.

The suggestions stem from public comments at the board’s previous meeting on March 14.
As previously reported, parents and other family and friends of a Kelly Walsh High School
student who was sexually assaulted last year by a Natrona County High School student spoke out  as the convicted offender walked free and receives praise as a star athlete at his school. The offender was convicted of sexual assault and battery in juvenile court. He, now 18, was a  minor at the time of the offense.

The assault did not take place on school property.

The victim’s grandmother, Paula Duran, said the offender was given just eight months of
probations between Dec. 14, 2021 and Aug. 14, 2022.

The victim’s family believes the offender was given too light of a sentence, but it has been made worse by the fact the offender is still eligible for athletic participation.

Speakers read from the Student Code of Conduct suggesting it makes the offender ineligible to compete in sports, but  they say he was given special treatment because both his parents are teachers in the district and  his uncle is an administrator. Speakers also detailed other athletes given much more severe  punishments for far less while the convicted offender has a history of unsportsmanlike behavior  that has not been punished.

Student Code of Conduct suggesting it makes the offender ineligible to compete in sports, but  they say he was given special treatment because both his parents are teachers in the district and  his uncle is an administrator. Speakers also detailed other athletes given much more severe  punishments for far less while the convicted offender has a history of unsportsmanlike behavior  that has not been punished.

they say he was given special treatment because both his parents are teachers in the district
The victim’s parents, Shaunell Brown and Anthony Duran, said the offender should be stripped of his athletic titles and not allowed to compete in sports.

Duran said: “I want to know why my daughter has to suffer while this star athlete, this student,  when he walks around being paraded around, and there’s no repercussions. What kind of system  is this? What have we done to protect our children?”

Applegate said at the April 11 meeting that he had time to review the code of conduct and
suggested changes are needed, specifically concerning athletic participation. He said legally they  are not allowed to talk about specific student discipline, but “this board is responsible for policy  in this district” which “needs to be revised to better clarify its intent and to better insure it’s  consistent application.”

Some of the changes suggested by Applegate was more explicit language on self-reporting and  discipline for both athletes as well as coaches and athletic directors, and he said “some violations should clearly result in dismissal from the team, and the code is not explicit in this regard.” No other board members weighed in on the issue.

As for the convicted offender, The Casper Star-Tribune reported last week that he lost an athletic  scholarship to play football at Nebraska’s Chadron State College after an online petition was  created which garnered thousands of signatures.

Richard Rhine, Chadron’s president, sent a letter to staff and students in response to a story from  the school’s newspaper, The Eagle, stating the offender would not be attending the college.  Rhine did not clarify if the convicted offender decided not to attend on his own or if he revoked the admission.
The Eagle reported on the offender late last month and got a response from his father, who is not named in the story, about the petition.

“The comments and petition is social media rumor and poison,” the offender’s dad told The
Eagle. “I’m sure there’s something much more valuable for CSC and the students who attend and plan to attend that you could write an article about.”

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