EMPORIA (KSNT) – “I Stand with the Victims.”

More than 100 white t-shirts with the words “I Stand with the Victims” have been sold by one Emporia mom who wanted to take a stand after allegations of misconduct by some players on the Emporia Football team emerged in August.

(KSNT Courtesy Photo/Seresa Howe)

Seresa Howe wanted a “good way to physically show support to the numerous victims of the battery and sexual assault that took place in the locker room amongst members of the football team.”

Wearing the t-shirts to Friday night’s football game was her way of showing community support for the victims who, according to Howe, have to “continue to practice and play with the aggressors on the team.”

Those victims that have reported the actions are showing strength & bravery. It’s important they know that what they have said matters, that they are valued & that their mental health is important. We will do what we can to prevent future victims from having to endure the same assault. We will wear our shirts and stand during the football game.

Seresa Howe

Howe told 27 News she had 91 shirts ordered by her deadline, and a waiting list of 10 more shirts if she can get them printed.

Emporia High School released the following statement following the allegations of misconduct, but little has been heard from the school or the school board on the matter since then.

Emporia Public Schools always has and will continue to take any and all allegations of misconduct seriously. As soon as a concern is brought to our attention it is thoroughly reviewed by our administration with the appropriate steps taken that are consistent with our board policies. We are currently aware of a situation involving EHS Football and we are working with the Emporia Police Department. Practice was canceled for football yesterday to assist in those efforts. Our priority, as always, is the safety and security of our students at Emporia Public Schools. We appreciate our ongoing partnership with our local authorities during this process.

Statement from Emporia High School, August 2022

The Emporia High School Principal initially reported the incident to the police. Police then turned their findings over to the Lyon County Attorney, but he then sent the case back, requesting further information from the police. The incident remains under investigation.

On Sept. 28, the Emporia School Board touched on the ongoing investigation into the Emporia High School’s football team.

The district continues to work with local law enforcement and legal counsel in navigating a matter involving the Emporia High School football team which involves strict confidentiality pursuant to the family educational rights and privacy act and the Kansas student data privacy act. We as the board recognize the public attention this situation has received. The interest in specific details and the deep level of concern that people in our community are experiencing. However, we must continue to ensure that all steps are followed to ensure that the legal rights of various individuals are protected. Students will always be at the center of our work and they are the reason we pursued the opportunity to become board members. We, along with our district administration team, are committed to the physical and emotional safety and well-being of our students and we will continue to be guided by that commitment as we move forward.

Leslie Seeley

The Lyon County Attorney, Marc Goodman, confirmed in August that he has case reports from the football team investigation and that it is currently under review.

Little other information has been released about the investigation as it involves juveniles and an incident that occurred on school property.