Oregon Public Broadcasting

The Portland Police Bureau's sex crimes unit is continuing to investigate at Grant High School.

The school's principal says three students were suspended and then reinstated after an altercation on January 12. One student has been expelled for the academic year. Rob Manning spoke to Grant's principal, Vivian Orlen Thursday. OPB aired the first part of that interview Thursday night, where Orlen described in detail how the school responded to that incident. Friday, Rob Manning reports on Orlen's response to media reports that the school's athletic program has a history of violence and hazing.

Grant principal Vivian Orlen says students and parents have had a great deal to say to her since the incident on January 12. She describes the incident as quote "an altercation." But that incident prompted Portland police to launch an investigation by its sex crimes unit, into what's been going on at the school.

Orlen says in the wake of the incident, and subsequent media reports, parents have now come forward. They tell her about hazing, or bullying, within the athletics program. When they do, Orlen says she and her fellow administrators ask this:

"'Well, have you ever brought that to the school's attention, have you ever talked to the coach?' People continually talk about this sort of 'fear' that their child will be retaliated against. And myself along with my administrative team have been really kind of confused with that response from parents," she said.

Orlen says some parents told her they didn't say anything earlier, because they feared retaliation -- by adults.

Vivian Orlen: "I do not see coaches or teachers in this school as retaliatory beings. And so that's been worrying to me -- that people appear to be, and have said to me that when I say 'Well, did you talk to the coach?' 'Well, no, because I'm afraid maybe my child might not get as much playing time in a game.'"

She says that's left her in a quandary.

Vivian Orlen: "It's very hard to know what to do with that."

Orlen says since the incident, parents have shared more general worries about how Grant runs its athletic programs.

Vivian Orlen: "In ongoing conversations that I've been having with parents who have children who are actively involved in Grant athletics, I think some important concerns have been raised to me. And I think they're legitimate concerns. I think that for the most part, their concerns have to do, not with safety, or fear of hazing, but more issues of Grant having isolated athletic programs that don't feel consistent in terms of how coaches approach team-building in their sport."

Orlen says that the three students who were suspended from school -- and then reinstated -- participated in mediation with the victims Wednesday. She says all parties agreed that the face-to-face meeting would be a quote "beneficial process."

This story originally appeared on Oregon Public Broadcasting.

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