DULUTH – The remainder of the Proctor High School football season is on hold, players learned Wednesday, as a police investigation into the alleged student misconduct continues.
The district suspended football activities last week over allegations that were not made public.
In Wednesday’s announcement, Superintendent John Engelking said the cancellation allows “due diligence” to investigate the “serious misconduct” allegations.
Please be aware that this decision was not made in a hurry and was made in consultation with the Proctor Police Department, the Minnesota State High School League, the Proctor Public Schools Crisis Team and a legal advisor, ”he said.
“We will take action against proven professional misconduct and we will fix any problems with the football program; we are absolutely confident that when the program resumes next season we will be RailStrong representing our families, our school and our community in a positive way. both on and off the pitch and doing the right thing at all times. “
Meanwhile, the team’s coach, Derek Parendo, “does not currently perform any coaching duties,” Engelking said in a previous interview.
Parendo, employed by Proctor Schools in various coaching, administrative and teaching roles since 2000, continues to be employed as a science teacher and soccer coach. Engelking wouldn’t say if Parendo was still receiving a salary for his coaching role or if he had been put on leave.
Engelking said Parendo was not under investigation and “did nothing wrong,” but the school “is considering a change” in programming.
Citing privacy laws, Engelking does not disclose whether any students have been sanctioned. Supervisor Police Chief Kent Gaidis said the investigation is not expected to end this week.
Todd Becker, a parent of a soccer player, said team members would also not be allowed to participate in next week’s reunion festivities.
While understandable during the investigation, a mass cancellation “hurts innocent children,” he said. “Ninety-nine percent of them had nothing to do with it.
Social media and widespread rumors are making an already shocking situation worse, Becker said, with many critics painting the entire team with one wide brush before the facts are exposed.
“It’s to the point where [my son] doesn’t wear his Proctor football shirt and cap around town, ”Becker said.
Jana Hollingsworth • 218-508-2450