CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. – A county school board chairman in Tennessee has apologized for officials' response after three high school basketball players were charged with raping a teammate in an apparent hazing incident.
Parents and community members have complained that Hamilton County school officials haven't shared enough information about what happened and how the allegations are being handled.
Media reported that school board chairman Jonathan Welch issued a statement Sunday apologizing for the handling of an emergency meeting last week at which the board took no questions and released no answers.
Welch said that going forward the board would provide more information.
After the three Ooltewah High School players were charged in the incident, school officials decided to cancel the rest of the season.
Welch the board is determining whether the superintendent has responded appropriately, evaluating the roles of staff and volunteer chaperones who were with the team, confirming that district policies and procedures are being followed and engaging in open conversations with the community.
He urged parents and community members to attend two upcoming board sessions, one on Jan. 14 and the other on Jan. 21. He said the first is a working session at which board members plan to discuss hazing and anti-bullying policies. A public forum will follow. The second session is a regular board meeting and will include a public forum.
"I cannot take back any of the mistakes made in trying to protect the integrity of the independent investigations and the rights and privacy of those involved — but we can work to do better in sharing what we are doing — and to listen even more carefully to parents, educators and taxpayers in our community as we move forward," Welch said in the statement. "And that's we intend to do."