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Superintendent: District acted properly after sex abuse allegations
District holds news conference to discuss swim team controversy
new deh usd 428 sex case news conference pic
Unified School District 428 Superintendent Brad Reed addresses the media and district patrons during a Monday afternoon news conference called to discuss the sexual battery allegations involving members of the Great Bend High School boys swim team. - photo by DALE HOGG Great Bend Tribune

A defiant Unified School District 428 Superintendent Brad Reed admonished the media Monday afternoon for its coverage of sexual battery allegations involving members of the Great Bend High School boys swim team while assuring Great Bend residents the school system is addressing the matter with the utmost vigor.
His comments came during a spur-of-the-moment news conference called for Monday afternoon at the District Office board room. The small chamber was crammed with print, radio and television reporters and photographers, as well as School Board members and members of the public.
Reed read from a prepared statement, but refused to take questions afterwards. “It’s not because we don’t want to answer them. It’s because federal student privacy laws prevent it.”
Reed used the conference to take on what he called false information swirling since the incident involving the alleged assault on a swimmer occurred on a school bus came to light last week. This case sparked the revelation that another boy had allegedly been similarly abused earlier.
“Unfortunately, USD 428 and the GBHS Boys Swim Team have been the subject of recent controversial media stories and social media discussion,” Reed said, reading from the statement. “Even more unfortunately, these have resulted in the circulation of misinformation and falsehoods; falsehoods which have resulted in students of USD 428, as well as coaches and administrators receiving threats and shameful treatment.”
He said his ability to provide details in response has been, and remains, limited by federal student privacy laws, the policies of the district and student privacy rights. But, he wanted to address some of the “false statements being circulated.”
First, he said, it is not true the district has not addressed this issue and has tried to “sweep it under the rug.”
“This incident was handled swiftly and appropriately,” he said. The incident happened late on a Saturday evening and was initially addressed at the time.
“By Monday, the incident had been further investigated and considered by the coaches and administrators and appropriate corrective action was taken,” he said. “In addition, while the information provided to us by the persons present and involved does not indicate serious criminal activity occurred, we have cooperated with law enforcement in investigating the possibility of criminal conduct.”
The district will continue this cooperation. “And if their investigation provides new information, we will consider it and respond appropriately.”
It is also not true that USD 428 has not issued any statements and is attempting to hide something, he said. “I, as the superintendent of schools, and our School Board president have been speaking to the media and issuing statements. As I have stated from the beginning: ‘USD 428 has been engaged in this incident from the time it happened. It has been handled in an appropriate manner. All district policies and procedures have been followed.’”
He said they repeatedly explained to the media that they couldn’t comment due to privacy laws, “whether they are the victims or perpetrators of alleged misconduct. We are not trying to hide anything. We are following the law.”
Finally, he said, it is not true that two students are being allowed to participate in the state swim meet even though they have committed serious infractions. “No student in USD 428 who should receive discipline would ever be allowed to represent our school district in a sporting event instead of receiving that discipline. That will never happen in USD 428 as long as I am your superintendent.”
He concluded by praising the district and its personnel.
“I want to assure the citizens of Great Bend that regardless of what they have been hearing in the media, USD 428 is a fabulous school district, filled with outstanding educators who provide a world-class education to their students every day,” he said. “Our head swim coach, Steve Beaumont, High School Principal Tim Friess and Athletic Director David Meter are stellar examples of the caring professionals in our schools.”
He said they have been on top of this incident from the time it happened, and “have handled it in an appropriate and swift manner.”
“Their superintendent will stand with them,” Reed said of district staff and how they dealt with the matter. He said he is proud of them and their response.
“All USD 428 policies and procedures have been followed, and respect for the privacy and confidentiality of all our students has been maintained,” he said.