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Policies didn't prevent hazing

| December 15, 2010 8:00 PM

BOISE (AP) - An eastern Idaho school district says policies to crack down on bullying were already in place when, police say, a group of student athletes engaged in hazing activities.

The Blackfoot School District adopted anti-harassment and anti-bullying policies in 2006, three years before authorities say five students were involved in the hazing incidents, Superintendent Scott Crane said.

The policies were detailed in a statement Monday from the district in hopes of addressing concerns in the community after charges were filed against the former students this month.

"We wanted to make sure that people understand that we have done a lot of preventive work on this," Crane told The Associated Press. "We want to be proactive and make sure folks know we're taking this seriously."

Four former Blackfoot High School athletes, including a teen who was on Boise State University's football team this season, face various misdemeanors and felony counts of forcible sexual penetration using a foreign object in Idaho's 7th District Court. The misdemeanor counts include false imprisonment and battery.

Police say Nathan Walker, Anthony Clarke, Logan Chidester and Tyson Katseanes engaged in hazing activities, that happened between Dec. 2, 2009, and Feb. 28. The 19-year-olds are scheduled to appear in court on Dec. 23.

Authorities say a fifth former athlete at the school who is a juvenile also faces charges. The incidents took place in the school's locker room and on a bus, and involved multiple victims, according to police.

Bigham County prosecutors have said more victims may come forward.

Administrators and teachers at the district are instructed that harassment, intimidation, and bullying are not to be tolerated as part of the policies adopted in 2006, the district said in its statement this week.

The policies are distributed to district employees each school year, according to the district, and a discipline policy handbook distributed to parents at registration includes a summary that states intimidation, bullying and cyberbullying is a "major" violation.

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