Los Alamos Volleyball Allegations And Investigation

Los Alamos Public Schools

On Friday, August 18, the Los Alamos High School Volleyball team had a team “lock-in”. The purpose of this event was to serve as an opportunity for team bonding and socializing. They had activities planned through the night such as dinner, glow volleyball, and other games.
On Monday, August 20, LAPS administration received an anonymous tip that some of the players were talking about the event and reporting that some of the coaching staff were intoxicated. We took this report very seriously and immediately began an investigation. This investigation included talking with some players and parents, reviewing video footage from the evening, and interviewing the coaches. The coaches who were at the event were immediately suspended while we conducted the investigation. We also notified the Los Alamos Police Department about this situation. It is against the law for anyone to have alcohol on a school campus. 

At this point in our investigation, we believe that some of our coaches were drinking alcohol off campus prior to or during the event. We have a no tolerance policy for this unacceptable behavior.  District policy clearly does not allow staff to supervise students under the influence of alcohol so we took immediate action with these employees. We have not identified any clear evidence that there was any alcohol on campus but will continue to cooperate with the police on their ongoing investigation. 

As I was reviewing the video from the evening and talking with players, I became aware that there was a period of time of about 2 hours where all 5 adults were sitting outside the gym talking. The students were all in the gym at this time. I was disappointed to see that the coaches did not check on the students frequently enough throughout this timeframe. This is unacceptable. We expect adequate supervision for our students. I placed the coach who was in charge on a 30 day suspension pending investigation at this time. This coach was responsible for supervision and failed in that duty.

I want to commend the players on their outstanding behavior throughout the event. We have extensively reviewed video and talked to players about this evening. One thing that was very clear was that our players showed a great deal of maturity and responsibility. They were safe, considerate, and followed the rules. 

It is disappointing that some of our coaching staff failed to make player safety and well-being their top priority. That is unacceptable in the Los Alamos Public Schools. Creating a safe, inclusive learning environment for 100% of our students is our district’s top priority and we expect all staff to share that mission. I am sorry that at the volleyball team event on August 18 some of our students did not feel safe because of the actions of a few adults that they trusted. I cannot share individual personnel details with you but can assure you that we have taken action to address this situation and ensure that it does not happen again. 

We will be reorganizing our coaching staff so the girls have as little disruption to their season as possible. We want them to have the support and coaching staff that they need to have a successful season. We will appoint an interim head coach over the next few days. In the meantime, we appreciate our current coaches from both the middle and high school who have stepped in to help by running practice and providing support for players. 

I am grateful to the many parents, staff, and community members who have volunteered or spoken out in support of this team. We appreciate your kind words, help with practice, and understanding of the complex legal requirements in a situation like this involving staff. I have been keeping the parents of the players involved informed through email. We are scheduling a team parent meeting this week. If your child is on one of the high school volleyball teams and you have not been receiving emails, please contact me directly or Athletic Director Ann Stewart.

Many people have reached out to ask how they can help. We appreciate that support. You can help by supporting the team and the individual players. The players need the opportunity to have a great season. One of the ways that they feel this support is by having fans show up at their games. You can also help by being aware of what you are sharing or posting on social media. We are committed to providing information as quickly and transparently as possible. We do not have anything to hide and will share what we can when we can. Misinformation and rumors are hard for the players and parents. This can also be damaging to the many coaches who were not involved in any misconduct. If you have questions, reach out directly to me. I will always answer the questions that I can answer. Please keep in mind that this is an ongoing investigation and we will never be able to provide information on personnel matters. If you have information that is relevant you can report this through our online reporting system. You can provide your name or choose to remain anonymous. This line is monitored 24 hours a day, seven days a week. 

I will update you if the situation changes. I appreciate your support as we move forward. I am committed to improving education for students in Los Alamos and will continue to focus on student learning, social emotional well-being, and civic responsibility so that all of our students and staff are happy and successful.