Kearney High administrators apologize for students’ behavior during volleyball match against Lincoln High

Complaints include people in the KHS student section yelling derogatory comments and reaching out to touch players while trying to serve.
Published: Sep. 21, 2022 at 3:49 PM CDT|Updated: Sep. 22, 2022 at 11:00 AM CDT
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KEARNEY, Neb. (KSNB) - An investigation is underway following reported inappropriate behavior in the Kearney High student section of Tuesday night’s varsity volleyball game against Lincoln High.

Complaints from LHS parents and players include people in the KHS student section yelling derogatory comments and reaching out to touch players while trying to serve.

Lincoln Public Schools sent an email to volleyball parents that they are working with LPS Athletics and Kearney High to fully investigate reports of inappropriate comments and actions from the spectators during the volleyball game at Kearney High School.

Lincoln High Principal Mark Larson said, “Student safety is one of our top priorities. We take each report seriously and will work with all involved to thoroughly investigate each report.”

In an email to media Wednesday afternoon, KPS Activities Director/KHS Assistant Principal Ryan Hogue said they are aware of allegations of irresponsible behavior from their students at the volleyball game and are investigating it to the fullest extent. Hogue also admitted he should have handled the situation differently at the time.

“I was contacted by the Lincoln High coach at last night’s game who was upset with the behavior of our students. I told the coach that I would make sure this didn’t happen anymore and to continue coaching her team,” Rogue said. “In retrospect, I wish I would have taken different steps at that time to identify potential student misconduct. While it may be difficult to prove any misconduct occurred with our students today, we do apologize to the Lincoln High volleyball coaching staff and team for any potential misconduct that might have occurred. It is our expectation for Kearney High students and fans to set the standard for enthusiastic support of their team with a respectful demeanor towards our opponents.”

Following Kearney’s win, Hogue sent a tweet, giving the student section known as “Rowdies” a shout out for their support during the game. That tweet was deleted Wednesday following complaints from LHS parents.

KPS Activities Director/KHS Assistant Principal Ryan Hogue tweeted this following Tuesday's...
KPS Activities Director/KHS Assistant Principal Ryan Hogue tweeted this following Tuesday's matchup between Kearney High and Lincoln High. It has since been deleted following complaints about inappropriate behavior by the Kearney student section.(Twitter)

Hogue sent another tweet, apologizing for his earlier tweet..

Kearney High Principal Jeff Ganz said this type of behavior from students is not accepted at KHS.

“Kearney High School is making proactive changes to our game management practices and procedures to ensure a positive game experience for all teams competing at KHS,” Ganz said. “There will be consequences for any students found to be guilty of any misconduct in this incident.”

Ganz stated that any type of reported disrespectful behavior and hateful language will not be tolerated at Kearney High School and encourages anyone to report inappropriate behavior to KHS staff so that it can be addressed immediately.

“Kearney Public Schools has a positive, storied tradition of student support with our ‘Rowdies’ and we have received many compliments from visiting fans regarding their support of our teams through the years. I attended last night’s game but was at the other end of the floor with some elementary students. I did not hear the comments or see the actions being attributed to our students but acknowledge that our friends from Lincoln had a negative experience with our event. I apologize on behalf of Kearney Public Schools for anything that might have been said or for inappropriate conduct that may have occurred. That is not indicative of what Kearney Public Schools represents. Furthermore, I have the utmost confidence in Ryan Hogue and Jeff Ganz to develop game management plans and protocols that will ensure our students continue supporting our team in a respectful and honorable fashion,” said Jason Mundorf, KPS Superintendent. “We sincerely apologize to the coaches, players, students, and fans of Lincoln High School for anything negative they may have experienced.”

We reached out to the NSAA and were told that they received a call regarding Tuesday’s volleyball match between Kearney and Lincoln High. NSAA Assistant Director Jeff Stauss said the NSAA has been in contact with both schools’ administration and the schools’ internal investigations are on-going.