(Cassville) (AP) – A southwest Missouri high school is urging angry students and parents to remain calm after discovering that a water cooler used by its girls basketball team had been contaminated with urine from at least one player from a rival school during a February game.
Monett High’s principal and athletic director told parents in a letter last week that four Cassville High players each urinated into separate cups, then poured the contents of one into the Monett team cooler at a Feb. 4 game in Cassville. The schools are located about 20 miles apart near the state’s border with Oklahoma, Kansas and Arkansas.
A written statement from the Cassville school district confirms that unspecified disciplinary action has been taken in response to the “inappropriate act.” Monett High School has contacted infectious disease specialists and said a Cassville student will be tested for potential health risks.
“We are asking you, as parents, to help us work with our girls and their friends to handle this situation with professionalism and restraint,” Monett Principal David Steward and athletic director Daryl Bradley wrote in the March 20 letter. “We understand that all of us in Monett are angered and frustrated by this occurrence and the amount of time before the incident came to light.
“We encourage you to support our stance that retaliation in any way stoops to the level of the offense committed against us and is counterproductive,” the letter adds.
Monett High administrators met with their Cassville counterparts the day the letter was written. Cassville officials said they didn’t learn about the incident until March 19. The Monett letter to parents said the investigation remains “ongoing to determine if further discipline is warranted.”
The media statement from Cassville assistant superintendent Jill LeCompte doesn’t describe the details of its students’ “alleged prank” but affirms the school district’s commitment to “sportsmanship and maintaining high standards for our students.” She declined to discuss specifics Monday, citing student privacy.
In an interview with The Associated Press on Monday, Monett Superintendent Brad Hanson reiterated the earlier call for cooler heads to prevail.
“No matter how upset or appalled we may be, it’s our responsibility to step back,” he said. “I don’t think there was any malice intended. They didn’t think through what they were doing, and made a very, very poor choice.”