By Gina Yarbrough
Vista, CA–Sheriff’s Department detectives are investigating an alleged physical altercation among football team members that took place at a varsity football locker room at Vista High School, authorities said.
School officials reported two incidents in the locker room to Sheriff’s deputies on September 2. The first one occurred on August 31 and the second on September 1, the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department stated in a news release.
Deputies initially received reports about a sexual assault on the campus. During their interview with the 14-year-old victim, his mother, students, parents, and faculty, it was determined from the investigation that a sexual assault did not happen.
A video of the incident was posted on social media. It shows a boy being forcefully pushed to the ground. He was not hurt and did not require medical attention. The video was forwarded to detectives investigating the case, according to the Sheriff’s Department.
Vista High School Principal David Jaffe sent a letter to the football team members’ parents to inform them of the alleged misconduct between players in the locker room. In the letter, Jaffe said the allegations “were deeply disturbing.”
“Upon learning about this late last Thursday night, I contacted the district early Friday morning to initiate all appropriate next steps. The three-day weekend did cause some delays in our being able to gather facts so that I could share with you a more complete situation,” Jaffe stated in the letter.
Jaffe also addressed the issue with the parents at a meeting Monday night at the school library. He shared progress on the investigation in general terms and discussed steps to increase supervision in the locker rooms.
School officials have implemented a “Safety Action Plan” for all coaches at all levels of the program that will provide daily supervision of the locker room with administrative oversight. They will also add a campus assistant to assist with locker room oversight for football PE. Counseling services will be made available to any football player who seeks support. The school’s coaches will be required to participate in mandated reporter training.
The Vista Unified School District has retained an outside investigator who began interviewing witnesses on Monday.
School officials said once the investigation is completed, the school district will take action based on the findings and their policies.
Due to strict privacy rights and laws, the school district and the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department can’t release identifying information about minor victims.
Students or families who have information on the incident can contact the investigator, Howard Fulfrost directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.