STORY COUNTY, Iowa — Education and sports are designed to build camaraderie but the alleged assault case involving hazing within the Roland-Story School District has some parents wondering if their child’s place of learning is becoming a place of pain.
“I want answers and I want us all to come together. It’s that simple,” said a concerned parent at Monday’s school board meeting.
Emotions ran high during the Roland-Story CSD school board meeting as concerned parents addressed the recent assault charge against two-time state wrestling champion high school student Kade Blume, a junior, and another student accused of assaulting another classmate with a pencil in January. Blume has pled not guilty.
School board president Marc Soderstrum said, “The alleged incident occurred off school property and was not connected with any school event the district has followed directives from law enforcement regarding the matter so not to impede or inhibit the validity of law enforcement to fully investigate this matter.”
Some district parents feel the school’s relaxed approach to hazing on school grounds is what led to this extreme allegation. “There were things that did happen on the grounds that I feel led to that and nothing was done about that,” said Darrell Smith, another parent in the district.
The current Iowa code defines hazing as, “The person intentionally or recklessly engages in any act or acts involving forced activity which endanger the physical health or safety of a student for the purpose of initiation or admission into or affiliation with any organization operating in connection with a school, college or university.” It goes on to clarify that a person who commits an act of hazing is guilty of a simple misdemeanor and a person who causes serious bodily injury is guilty of a serious misdemeanor. Smith said, “The most pain I feel is for the victim of course but there are so many others that are going to be hurting because of this as well.”
According to stophazing.org, there are 44 states including Iowa that have anti-hazing laws but when it comes to having a zero-tolerance stance Iowa is not one of the 13 that have laws making hazing a felony when resulting in serious injury or death.
One parent at the meeting was worried history could repeat itself in the district and claimed a student committed suicide a year ago after a strikingly similar incident. “I don’t want another student to die because of these things. This boy that committed suicide last year was being teased, being hazed.”
Blume’s next court date on the motion to move his case from adult to juvenile court is set for December 5th. A student within the district tells WHO 13 that Blume has not been in the classroom or at wrestling practice for a while.