Raley: Strasburg boys team probe nearing an end

Jeremy Raley

The investigation into accusations of physical misconduct on a bus carrying members of the Strasburg High School’s boys’ varsity and junior varsity basketball teams is nearing a conclusion, Shenandoah County Public Schools Superintendent Jeremy Raley stated in a message to parents Friday.

Raley asked for “patience and understanding” as authorities “complete the review process over the next several days.”

The investigation into an incident on a basketball team bus in mid-December has already led to six Strasburg High School boys being charged in juvenile petitions with assault or battery by a mob. The six boys, three of them 16-year-olds and three of them 17-year-olds, are scheduled for hearings Friday in Shenandoah County Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court.

The investigation also led Raley to suspend all boys’ JV and varsity basketball practices and games until further notice, an action that the email said remains in effect.

Raley stated in the email that the investigation, begun in mid-January, “revealed video evidence related to the event that was initially reported to us.”

Raley added: “I have reviewed this video. This video confirms our division’s careful review, deliberate investigation and further action are warranted. This video is currently in possession of the Shenandoah County Sheriff’s Office. We continue to work cooperatively with all local officials, including law enforcement, to gather the facts related to this situation, both as part of their investigation and ours.”

Raley noted the investigation has involved “more than 75 interviews and over 400 hours of review.”

The email said the school system has “made resources available to our students and staff to further discuss any concerns they may have regarding this situation and its effects.”

In an interview, Raley said the email message “speaks to the fact that we hope to be able to conclude the investigative process, which includes interviews, over the next several days.”

Raley continued his previous practice of refusing to discuss any disciplinary actions that may have been taken against students or adults linked to the bus incident.

Attorney David Silek, who is representing one of the students charged in the juvenile petition, denounced Raley’s email. Silek said his client was initially suspended from school for 10 days, then had his suspension extended and is now being threatened with expulsion.

“It demonstrates a complete disregard of the care, safety and welfare not only of my client, but all students,” Silek said of Raley’s alleged disciplinary action and his client’s impending appearance in Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court.

Silek said the students under investigation were denied due process and that Raley’s actions in the case showed the superintendent “should not be trusted.”

Contact staff writer Joe Beck at 540-465-5137 ext. 142, or jbeck@nvdaily.com