As the principal of North Judson-San Pierre High School, I do not make a habit out of publicly commenting about school business. The allegations of misconduct that were recently made at a school board meeting (and subsequently reported by WKVI) are serious. I choose to comment publicly on this situation now because it is serious, and because it is important for anyone that has read the initial report to know the truth.
The WKVI News and Sports Departments and General Manager met this week with officials from North Judson-San Pierre High School to discuss allegations raised by two parents during the Tuesday, Oct. 21 ‘s school board meeting and reported by WKVI News. We received this response from them this morning and agreed to publish it in its entirety on our website. We have also removed the original story from our site in an effort to stop the spread of misinformation.
Statement From NJ-SP High School Principal (Annette Zupin):
The truth is that we did have conflict on our volleyball team. That conflict was first reported to us on Thursday, August 27th. On the afternoon of the 27th, members of our administrative team interviewed players and coaches from our volleyball team. On Friday the 28th, a second series of discussions were held. There were small group meetings (all junior varsity players together with a coach and an administrator in one room & all varsity players together with coaches in a different room) followed up by a large group (full team) meeting with coaches and an administrator present. There were also several meetings over the course of these two days with various groups of parents.
As in any situation involving conflict, it is never just one thing. The common themes that were discussed on that Friday were … miscommunication over a team gathering that made the junior varsity players feel left out, poor body language between teammates, and the fact that a large number of underclassmen had earned significant roles on the varsity team.
At the end of the meeting on Friday, the vast majority of the players in the volleyball program were pleased with the progress that had been made and were ready to move on. On the Monday after that meeting, two junior varsity players chose to leave the team. Soon after that, two other junior varsity players were lost for the season for medical reasons. At that point, we were able to add three more girls to our volleyball program which allowed us to complete the junior varsity season. At no point during the rest of the season did we receive any more reports of conflict within the team.
For these same allegations to emerge two months later is quite curious to me. We’re not perfect. We will never claim to be. But we are also not what was portrayed in the WKVI article. Morale is so low that nine girls quit? The correct number is two, and three more joined the team in the next three days. Bullying? No. Conflict? Yes. Was it mediated? Yes. This situation has been addressed, and we have moved forward.
We take great pride in working to provide the best possible environment for our students to succeed … both inside and outside of the regular school day. That environment is not problem-free. When problems arise, we work through them. We don’t ignore them. In cases of severe misconduct, we take severe action. In cases where other corrective measures are appropriate, we use those.
I know not all of you have the view from the inside of the school that I do. I know it’s easy to find negativity if you seek it. But I look forward to coming to work at North Judson-San Pierre High School everyday because of the students and the staff that I get to work with. I am proud to be a Bluejay, and I will always be proud to be a Bluejay!