ALBANY — Dougherty County School System Police Chief Troy Conley said Friday that his officers continue to investigate a bullying complaint lodged against members of the Westover boys basketball program by Manswell Peterson, the father of a 16-year-old basketball player.
An alleged incident took place this past weekend at a Tallahassee, Fla., hotel where members of the basketball program were staying during a basketball camp. A complaint of cyber-bullying was also lodged after the team returned home.
“Mr. Peterson filed a complaint of bullying with our department and the Dougherty County Sheriff’s office after his son conveyed to him that he had been verbally abused by a majority of the basketball team and stuck several times with a pillow,” Conley said. “We met with members of the basketball team and their parents and are currently conducting interviews with all parties involved.”
Westover basketball coach Dallis Smith said Thursday he could not comment on the matter because the incident remains under investigation.
“At this point there is seems to be some validity to the complaint against one or two primary aggressors with an undetermined number of not-as-active participants,” Conley said. “We could see charges of bullying and mischievous conduct filed.”
Smith held a team meeting early in the week after the complaints became known, and several players took to Twitter to register their displeasure.
Several Tweets such as “I swear to god if we get charged for this mess he gone have to catch his round,” and “we was joking on him and he said we bullied him.” were posted before being deleted a short time later.
Another issue that arose were the number of players and chaperones who made the trip. A source said Thursday that 53 people and just three chaperones made the camp trip. Conley said video from the school bus showed 36 team members. Conley also said he was told that four chaperones were in Tallahassee that weekend.
The chief added his department had not yet interviewed any of the chaperones.
“He (Conley) needs to get the names of the chaperones, and ask them how and when they got to Tallahassee, find out if their rooms were on the same floor and how often they checked the players’ rooms,” Peterson said.”This kind of stuff has happened at Westover before and it needs to stop.”