Local News

Roncalli mother speaks out, contacts police about son's abuse

The mother of the Roncalli High School student who was bullied by football players says the school has not done enough to punish the players.


In an interview with 93 WIBC's "The Chicks on the Right," Leslie Woodruff says her son Jack -- who has down syndrome, and is the manager of the Roncalli football team -- was harassed by some players in the locker room in September, and the incident was recorded on Snapchat.


When she heard about it, she went to the Dean of Students at Roncalli. The school told Woodruff they did an investigation, and handed down a punishment for the player that recorded the bullying, although the dean had not watched the video.


"The student who took the initial video received an after-school detention, and then was allowed to still play football that weekend," she said.


Woodruff says a few days later, she received a letter in the mail from one of the player's parents.

"It stated that their son had observed Jack being made to do something inappropriate to another football player in the locker room," she said.


That parent then told the school about the details of the bullying. The dean called Woodruff to let her know they received an anonymous tip about the incident, and that they would investigate further.

Woodruff says she talked with her son, who did not initially discuss the details of the incident, because he was threatened. She says after she told Jack about the letter and that someone else saw the bullying, Jack then told her more about what he was forced to do.


The school investigated again, but did not punish the players any further.


The following week, Woodruff pulled her son out of Roncalli.


"Within ten minutes of me sending an email to the school saying Jack was being withdrawn, the dean was on the phone, calling me, just requesting some time to talk about the anonymous report was and to see if I had any further information that I could share with the school," Woodruff said.

She said she filed a police report, and the police are still investigating the incident. She also hired a lawyer, but has not filed a lawsuit against Roncalli.


In a statement on their website, Roncalli President Joe Hollowell says:


"Many of you are aware of the recent news reports regarding an incident that took place in our football locker room involving students including a former Life Academy student. Roncalli staff learned of the alleged incident and reported it to the Department of Child Services. Roncalli and the Archdiocese have been and continue to cooperate with the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department during this ongoing investigation.


While we do not discuss disciplinary consequences enforced in response to the actions of individual students, please know that any student responsible for bullying and/or inappropriate conduct toward another student has been and will be disciplined appropriately, as outlined in the Parent-Student Handbook. Thus far, disciplinary measures have been taken, including suspension, and one student is no longer enrolled at Roncalli. Following the outcome of the ongoing police investigation, further disciplinary action may be taken.


The safety and well-being of every student is of utmost importance to us, and we remain committed to continuously seeking ways to improve practices and procedures related to student safety. We remain confident that Roncalli offers an exceptional educational and faith formation experience in a safe, secure environment.


Please join me in praying for all of our young people and their families."