Head of Napa School District speaks out about hazing scandal

NAPA, Calif. (KGO) -- ABC7 News is hearing from the head of the Napa School District for the first time about a hazing scandal that involves Napa high school's football team.

On Wednesday, the head football coach resigned. "People do not have all the facts. We realize there will be a lot of emotion around this," Napa School District Superintendent Patrick Sweeney said.

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Sweeney has taken a lot of heat, lately. He's hoping to bring context to outside criticism. "There are several areas that are mandatory expulsion by the state of California education code, and this falls under mandatory expulsions," he said.

Napa police said there are 16 possible victims of hazings. Sweeney said the district says it had no choice other than to bring them into the case. "It went directly to police because of the gravity and seriousness of the investigation," Sweeney said.

"Parents were not notified that their students were being brought in to make statements to police officers, parents weren't notified that private investigators were taking statements," said Mandy Leigh, the attorney representing students.

RELATED: Napa parents frustrated by high school football hazing investigation

Then on Wednesday, there was an escalation when head coach Troy Mott resigned, and much of his staff reportedly followed. The superintendent said he wishes the coach had stayed, but he insisted on hand-picking his staff without district approval. "The biggest thing we need to improve is that coaches understand all of their responsibilities," Sweeney said.

When asked: What changed between this year and last year" Sweeney said: "We have a new athletic handbook that was distributed to most coaches. In this case, some of them did not receive the handbook and so they did not know all the procedures."

The superintendent never disclosed whose fault that was.

In summary, however, he said this: "I think after this is over, people will thank the school district for standing up for students rights."
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