Superintendent calls for independent investigation of possible assault by football coach

Juneau School District Superintendent Glenn Gelbrich wants an independent investigation into the alleged assault of a student by a football coach.

A news release from the district late Tuesday afternoon says Gelbrich requested an independent, third-party investigator be appointed by City Manager Kim Kiefer.

Kiefer has agreed to hire a personnel investigator after police have completed their work.

“We will have somebody from outside of Juneau that has direct experience investigating personnel matters come in after the police are done with their investigation,  to do the internal school district investigation,” Keifer says.

The alleged assault occurred last summer in Gold Beach, Oregon, while players and coaches were at a football camp. The incident was reportedly captured on video, which allegedly shows Thunder Mountain High School assistant football Coach John Wahl engaged in a boxing match with an incoming freshman player. Wahl allegedly sucker punched the boy, who apparently collapsed unconscious while the coach celebrated.

Wahl also works as a teacher at a Juneau middle school.

Authorities in Oregon are taking the lead in the investigation with help from the Juneau Police Department. The latest district release says Juneau school officials continue to cooperate fully with the official investigation, and the independent probe will not interfere with it.

An earlier release from the district said two unnamed “coaches” have been placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation. According to JSD spokeswoman Kristin Bartlett, those coaches are school district employees.

Gelbrich has not returned KTOO’s phone calls over the past two days.


Investigators looking at alleged assault by Juneau football coach

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