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Amherst Ultimate team disciplined over incident at home

  • Amherst-Pelham Regional High School  GAZETTE FILE PHOTO



Staff Writer
Thursday, November 07, 2019

AMHERST — The boys Ultimate team at Amherst Regional High School will play a significantly reduced schedule in the spring after several players, following an incident at an Amherst home, were subject to an investigation by Amherst Police and the school district last June.

The Amherst Regional Public Schools issued a statement to the school community in June about a situation in which officials were alerted to “conduct unbecoming of student athletes” that was alleged to have occurred at a private home at the end of the sports season.

School officials and Amherst Police declined to elaborate on the nature of the conduct that prompted investigations. It has led to current students being reprimanded and consequences for students who have since graduated. 

Superintendent Michael Morris said this week that when he was apprised of the situation, he immediately contacted the Amherst Police Department and notified the Northwestern district attorney’s office and, as mandated reporters, the district also filed a 51A report with the Department of Children and Families. Those reports are made in cases where child abuse or neglect is suspected.

The school district also conducted an investigation internally and interviewed students who participated in the activity or who were present at the time, according to school officials. 

Amherst Police Chief Scott Livingstone confirmed that his department was made aware of the incident by school officials. That led to an investigation completed in May and June in which police determined that no criminal charges should be brought.

“The case is closed, as far as we’re concerned,” Livingstone said.

Mary Carey, spokeswoman for the district attorney’s office, said she could neither confirm nor deny the existence of an investigation, observing that the office usually refrains from commenting on criminal investigations, particularly those involving juveniles.

“This is especially true when an investigation results in no criminal charges being pursued, for the mere fact that someone may have been the subject of a criminal investigation could negatively affect that person’s reputation,” Carey said.

In addition to the Ultimate team’s schedule being reduced “significantly,” with school officials not elaborating on what that means, graduates who were on the team will have limited access to and involvement in future team activities. High school and other school officials met with the Ultimate team students and families to communicate the teamwide consequences, according to the district’s statement Wednesday. 

The information disseminated from the school district notes that the district does not typically publicize issues of student conduct, in part due to privacy concerns for students. School officials issued the release, they said, “given information that has been shared from the community and requested from the press.” 

Scott Merzbach can be reached at smerzbach@gazettenet.com.