Bedford High School football coach suspended amid investigation
The head varsity football coach at Bedford High School, Jeff Wood, has been suspended one game after an investigation revealed misconduct by several student-athletes.
Last Monday, district officials were made aware of alleged inappropriate behavior that reportedly involved undisclosed lewd acts by a handful of Bedford football players during the team's training camp at Sauk Valley in Brooklyn, Mich.
"It's been a major investigation," said Bedford Public Schools Superintendent Mark Kleinhans. "To ensure that we have every piece of the puzzle and to make sure we took the appropriate steps and handled this accordingly."
Wood will miss Friday's season opener against St. Francis in Toledo. Kleinhans says several players have also been disciplined.
"We found out there (were) violations of the student code of conduct," he told NBC 24.
Despite the fact coach Wood has been suspended, Kleinhans said neither Wood nor any of the other coaches were involved in the alleged incident(s).
"In fact, they were unaware," said Kleinhans. "It's more a matter of what could -- there are things that could have been done to make this outcome different."
Citing federal privacy laws, Kleinhans said the district will not discuss the specific actions that led to the discipline, nor would he get into specifics of what type of discipline the players are facing. The district's student handbook says violations of the code of conduct are handled on an individual basis.
Bedford Public Schools released this statement Monday evening:
On Monday, August 17, 2015 at approximately 2:00 pm, Bedford Publics Schools was notified of a situation involving varsity football players while they were at football camp.
We have investigated, in cooperation, with local authorities and legal counsel, to ensure that the investigation was being handled in a thorough and appropriate manner. In accordance with Federal law, it is the policy of Bedford Public Schools not to comment on student disciplinary actions or investigations.
However, we would like to emphasize that we expect all of our students and staff to uphold all the standards of good character. Our expectations for student behavior are spelled out in our student handbook (http://www.bedford.k12.mi.us/pdf/handbook_student-shs.pdf) along with the consequences for when a student makes a decision to act contrary to those expectations. In addition, the District has Board Policies related to appropriate staff behavior and expectations.
Our investigations did reveal violations related to the student handbook. It was also clear that there were deficiencies in regards to the overall planning for the camp. As a result, the appropriate consequences will be enforced, according to the guidelines set forth in the student handbook and District Board Policy.
Friday night's varsity football game will be played as originally scheduled.