Fairbanks North Star Borough School Board meets to address West Valley incident

A special school board meeting was called on August 5th to address the incident that caused three West Valley High School football players to be hospitalized last week. (Carly Sjordal/KTVF)
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FAIRBANKS, Alaska A special school board meeting was called to address the incident that caused three West Valley High School football players to be hospitalized last week.

Tensions were running high as parents came to comment on the school districts behavior and responses to the event.

“To have this happen to my son who is almost graduating next year. To me, I would say a slap in the face from all the staff members from West Valley and the school district.” Said one parent.

It was discussed that the school district did not come out with any sort of apology after the incident occurred. The board stated that that they could not comment because of legal reasons.

The community also questioned the staff’s involvement with the hiring of the coach, Roy Hessner who has since resigned.

“The creation of this unsafe environment may have been caused by one person, but it was allowed to happen by the people, above that person also.” Said one former employee of the Fairbanks North Star Borough School District.

There were a couple suggestions made that asked the school district to review lessons plans for physical activity just as they would in educational core classes. There were also questions asked about what happened behind the scenes, that this activity wasn’t vetoed by anyone.

The school district commented that there is an ongoing investigation and not all information can be shared at this time. After taking a two hour executive session they concluded with this statement.

“Thank you to the parents and others who came out tonight to provide testimony and voice concerns. We are very concerned about the incident that occurred with the West Valley High School football team. This a top priority for the school board.

We know this is a difficult time for students, staff, and parents, and we appreciate everyone’s patience as we gather information to ensure the safety and well-being of our students. This is an emotional matter for all of us. We appreciate everyone who has contacted the school board. Your communication is of utmost importance to this board.

We are a community that cares deeply for our students. We will do everything we can to ensure their health and safety. We continue to gather information and will complete the process as soon as possible.”

It is unclear at this time how the school district will go forward with the treatment of pre-season activities in the future. Updates will be posted to https://www.k12northstar.org/