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Sunday, July 14, 2024

District Completes Inquiry into School's Handling of Alleged Hazing

By Michael Hicks
Berthoud Recorder

An internal investigation has been completed by the Thompson School District pertaining to Berthoud High School’s handling of a series of alleged hazing incidents in November and December.

Gene Alvine, Athletics and Activities Manager for the Thompson R2J School District, said via phone March 4 that the investigation was completed in late February. Alvine wouldn’t share the findings in the investigation, saying that it was a personnel matter.

“It’s (hazing) something we’re not going to tolerate,” Alvine said while vacationing in Tucson, Ariz. “The fishhook concept has got to go away,” he added referring to alleged activities by BHS students.

Dr. Ron Cabrera, superintendent of Thompson R2-J schools, said no action was taken against the high school.

“He (Alvine) did a thorough investigation. He did brief me on it,” Cabrera said. “Issues that were addressed came to his satisfaction. Hazing and unsupervised practices would not be tolerated.”

Cabrera said that the district was aware of the incidents that happened. He said he was not aware of any other incidents that have transpired in the district in the past year, but that “doesn’t mean it hasn’t happened.”

Berthoud High Principal Leonard Sherman, who requested the internal investigation, had no comment on the results of the investigation when reached by phone last week.

Berthoud wrestler Brandyn Wahlert was charged with four counts of third-degree assault — all of which are misdemeanors — in late January for his role in the alleged incidents. Four Spartan teammates were the alleged victims in the incidents, which allegedly included being fish hooked and dirty fish hooked, according to police reports.

Wahlert and fellow senior Saul Anderson were both suspended by the school for their part in the alleged incidents. Wahlert was suspended for 10 days and Anderson for five. Anderson, who was not charged in the alleged incidents, later left the wrestling team. He and his family also relocated to Erie.

“Action certainly was probably taken against the student (Wahlert) in question and attention was brought to the coaching staff of how we don’t want this to continue,” Cabrera said. “We need to put an end to this type of behavior.”

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