WOLCOTT - School officials are taking a hard line in dealing with members of the Wolcott High School football team who allegedly damaged the locker room of St. Paul Catholic High School in Bristol on Oct. 26 during the schools’ game.
The varsity team will not be playing its scheduled game tonight because only two members have come forward to admit they participated in the vandalism, said Superintendent of Schools Anthony Gasper, who called the incident an” embarrassment” to the school and the community.
The junior varsity team will also forfeit its game, coaches decided, because there is overlap between the rosters of the two teams, Gasper said.
“The behavior of a small number of our athletes at the St. Paul game on October 26th is abhorrent and reprehensible,” Gasper wrote in a letter to parents, students and coaches, which was posted on the school system’s Facebook page on Nov. 2.
Officials at St. Paul High School did not respond to several requests for comment.
Saying it’s the school system’s responsibility to supervise students in its care, Gasper also announced that the football coaches were suspended for one game each for the last three games of the season. “In this case, we did not do so at an acceptable level,” Gasper said of the lack of supervision that led to the incident. The investigation into the incident is continuing, he said.
Gasper told parents he was “disheartened” that the coaches didn’t seem to know what happened that day and equally disheartened that students were not admitting they caused the damage.
Gasper announced Nov. 5 that those who participated needed to come clean by 2 p.m. Wednesday or the entire team would sit out tonight’s game against Sacred Heart/Kaynor Tech. Only two students and their families came forward, Gasper said in a letter to parents and students issued Thursday, so the entire team will be sidelined for the game.
“It is regrettable that the other student-athletes themselves have decided not to take the honorable path and therefore have forced the unfortunate outcome of this matter,” Gasper said. School staff believe that other students were also involved. Gasper did not respond to a request for the cost of the damage.
Each student deemed responsible for the damage will be required to pay restitution and personally send a “sincere” apology to the leadership of St. Paul High School, he said. The entire team will be required to do community service until Thanksgiving.
The entire team sent St. Paul High School a letter of apology after the incident occurred. But Gasper and the coaches, who are still under investigation, were asking those who participated to come forward.
Lisa Backus can be reached at 860-801-5066 or Lbackus@centralctcommunications.com.