Two Olympus High School sophomore football players were suspended from school last month after they hit a female student on the rear end during a bus ride from Payson to Salt Lake City.
An adult on the bus witnessed the incident, which occurred on Aug. 29, and immediately reported it to school officials. School and Granite School District officials launched an investigation, and they reported it to the Salt Lake County Sheriff's Office. The investigation, which included police and parents, determined that on the bus ride home from Payson High, some questionable behavior had occurred between two male students and one female student.
The bus carrying the students apparently broke down, and while the students waited for it to be repaired, the two players began joking with a female student.
"One boy slapped her on the butt, and the other one snapped her with a shirt, the way you'd snap a towel," said Paul Hansen, director of high schools for Granite District. "That constitutes the offense of harassment, and the district has a pretty strict zero-tolerance policy on that."
The sheriff's office will make a determination on whether the acts constitute criminal behavior, and Hansen said both school and district officials will cooperate in that process if necessary. Because the teens are juveniles, the case would be handled in juvenile court.
Hansen said the school took action immediately, suspending both boys from school for three days. That's the maximum amount of time a school can suspend a student without asking for district approval. Olympus' administration also required the boys to complete community service hours, and the coaching staff suspended the boys from several games. One boy missed two games, while the other has missed four games.
Hansen hoped discussing the issue would alert students, parents and coaches to the reality of questionable behavior among teenagers.
"It's important that kids understand that this kind of behavior won't be tolerated," said Hansen. "If it does, not only will the school take pretty significant action, but they could end up facing criminal charges as well."
Hansen said part of dealing with these situations is educating students and parents.
"We're dealing with kids here," said Hansen. "And kids have to understand that this crosses the line. I don't know a school district in this state that will tolerate this. You might think you're best buddies in the world, but this is inappropriate.""It's a different day and a different age, and situations like this will be investigated by the school and the district and if needs be, the police."