Westside coaches reinstated, district continues hazing investigation

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - Two high school coaches are back on the field and in the classroom as their district continues to investigate hazing.

Bobby Engle and Fred Carter were reinstated to their coaching and teaching positions on Monday, according to an attorney for the Westside School District.

"Based on the initial findings, the district is confident that no employee acted in a manner that would warrant termination," an attorney told Region 8 News Monday in a statement.

The district's website lists Engle as the head football coach and physical education teacher. Carter is an assistant football coach and a track coach.

Westside School Superintendent Scott Gauntt told Region 8 News in an on-camera interview Monday that the district hired an outside firm to conduct the investigating into hazing allegations to, "thoroughly provide an unbiased truth behind this case," Gauntt said.

Gauntt says based on the initial findings, which he says they cannot go into detail about the actual incident yet, but said he feels both coaches in no way pose any threat or harm to the student body.

He says they are taking this investigation very seriously which is why he wants parents to talk to their kids as much as possible.

"We want to address every allegation of wrongdoing whether it is football program, chess or anything. We want to make sure our kids are being taken care of so if you get an opportunity to talk to your kids and hear something that alarms you, by all means, give us a call and we will address it," Gauntt said.

The school's attorney also stated the district's investigation into those allegations is on-going but is expected to be concluded this week.

Here is the full statement from the school district's attorney to Region 8 News:

Bobby Engle and Fred Carter were reinstated to their teaching and coaching positions on December 4, 2017. The district's investigation is still on-going but is expected to conclude this week. Based on the initial findings, the district is confident that no employee acted in a manner that would warrant termination. The district feels that it is important for its employees to resume their classroom and fieldhouse duties as the end of the semester approaches, along with corresponding semester exams. Once the investigation is complete, the district will take appropriate personnel actions, if any, as warranted by the final investigative findings. The district will also be taking remedial measures to address the safety of student-athletes. These measures include addressing supervision in locker rooms, increasing dialogue relative to anti-hazing policies and behavioral expectations with coaches, student-athletes, and parents. The district remains focused on its commitment to ensuring a quality education in a safe environment for the students of Westside.

Copyright 2017 KAIT. All rights reserved.

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