Discipline, no charges, expected

NEW MANCHESTER-Oak Glen High School Principal Barbara Logue said she will be recommending the discipline of two staff members and one student in connection with the fight that followed Friday night’s football game against Weir High.

Logue would not discuss names or other details, saying she will make a recommendation to Superintendent Suzan Smith at 2 p.m. today.

“Part of my job is to right a wrong. … People need to know that action was taken. Sadly, I had to take action,” Logue said. “It’s with a heavy heart that I’ve had to do some things, but, obviously, we have to set a tone for what we expect from students and coaches.

“We will not tolerate any bad language or any instances of anyone putting their hands on someone. We will not tolerate anyone not following the rules of the game. Good sportsmanship is one thing high on our list that we want our young men and women to abide by. Anytime you’re wearing the Oak Glen colors or name, you’re representing the school,” she said. “We don’t want the reputation of Oak Glen High School to be tarnished.”

Logue said she spent Monday sorting out the details of the melee that followed Oak Glen’s 23-27 loss to the Weir High Red Riders on Friday. Smith delegated investigation of the matter to Logue and Weir High School Principal Dan Enich.

No criminal charges are pending, and Hancock County Sheriff Ralph Fletcher said there’s not likely to be any. “Nobody brought a complaint to us that would fit a criminal investigation,” he said. “It’s in the hands of the school authorities.”

Logue said she was sitting in the student section and “saw the mayhem on the field,” but only after it started. Afterward, she grew concerned about a crowd of people that had gathered behind the home bleachers.

“I had to get the police there to disperse the crowd. I wanted everyone to go home and cool down,” she said.

Logue said there were no injuries and “only a few people” were involved in the fight. “There was such a big crowd on the field, it looked like more people were involved than actually were,” she said.

Logue said her biggest priority was the safety of the students.

“We had 50 boys on the field from our team. … My job is to take care of these kids, and I didn’t want anything to happen to these young men. I wanted them out of there and off the campus, so they could get rid of the heat they had going on as a result of the game,” she said.

The Oak Glen-Weir High rivalry is considered one of the bigger high school football rivalries in the Ohio Valley. Oak Glen’s loss to Weir High put their record at 0-6.

“It was just an unfortunate incident on Friday,” Logue said. “Watching the game, I feel both teams played extremely well. It was anybody’s game to the end.”

Logue said there’s more to a football game, or high school athletics in general, than winning and losing.

“Participating in sports builds character,” she said. “This is where (students) learn a lot of rights and wrongs, good character and good sportsmanship. … The kids look to the adults for direction, so when they see an adult behaving poorly, they get the idea that they can do that too.”

Logue said she apologized to Enich Friday night “on half of Oak Glen High School for the poor treatment that his team and coaches received.”

On Monday, Logue met with Athletic Director Phil Rujak, Assistant Principals Alice Klakos and Dave Smith, and Prevention Resource Officer Brian Hissam. She also met with the coaches and the football team in the Oak Glen Little Theater.

Logue said she talked to team members about her disappointment with them, the importance of sportsmanship, how adults sometimes make poor decisions, how mistakes have to be corrected and how everyone deserves a second chance.

“They seemed to be very receptive,” Logue said. “They were very respectful. They kept nodding their heads. I think they knew there were a lot of mistakes.”

The football players were afraid that their season was over, Logue said, but the rest of the games will be played.

Both Logue and Smith said there’s no truth to the rumors that the season has been canceled. Friday’s homecoming game and Saturday’s homecoming dance will go on as scheduled, they said.

Logue said the biggest lesson of Friday’s incident is “you have to be respectful and you have to play by the rules. What you learn on the field is basically the rules of life.”