3 Ooltewah students charged with aggravated rape will not be in school this January
UPDATE/Thursday: Hamilton County School Board members have called an executive session to discuss this matter on January 6th at 5:30 p.m in the Board Room at 3074 Hickory Valley Road. The meeting will be closed to the public.
UPDATED: Rick Smith, Hamilton County schools Superintendent, says the three Ooltewah High School students charged with aggravated rape and assault will not be back in school this January.
Smith says now that law enforcement has released the information on the charges, the three students charged will not be allowed back at school next week.
He says this technically falls under a long term suspension, but the Board of Education is treating this like a zero-tolerance case.
Smith says the next step for the school system is a hearing with the students and their parents at central office. They will treat the three students individually, based on their participation in the incident.
Rick Smith says the school system wasn't notified by law enforcement that charges were filed. They found out through the media.
Smith says it was their impression that a bond hearing would be held today, but they have not heard whether that actually happened or if the boys are out of juvenile detention.
Three former Ooltewah High School basketball players have been charged with aggravated rape and aggravated assault.
They are currently being held in a juvenile detention facility in Sevier County, TN.
The felony charges are in connection with a hazing investigation involving the students.
Tiffany Rawls also has a son on the team. She says her son told her after the incident in Gatlinburg that the same boys had pushed him and others around in the past.
She said, "These particular three would just come up and hit on them and they said "this is what we do to freshmen- y'all will be doing it one day.""
That's why she and her husband also plan to press charges.
"My husband spoke to the detective and so as far as I know we are because he was a victim too," she said.
Ooltewah's Athletic Director Jesse Nayadley says the coaches were staying at the cabin with the boys during the overnight tournament trip. They were in charge and accountable for the team.
"As a parent, knowing that you can't be around all the time and knowing that they are a certain age and should be able to be by themselves," Rawls said. "I know they cant watch everything."
Nayadley says, "We have heard nothing to lead us to have any reason to investigate coaches at this point."
The Ooltewah High School boys basketball team won its game Monday against Marion County in the Best of Preps Tournament at Chattanooga State.
Superintendent Rick Smith still has not returned phone calls about the incident in question that happened last week.
We also contacted Superintendent Lee McDade, Ooltewah High School Principal Jim Jarvis and Athletic Director Jessee Nayadley. We asked who was supervising the team while they were away. No one has replied.
In a statement TSSAA says, "[Hazing] policies are normally developed by the local Board of Education since it is beyond our authority to deal with those situations."
The Gatlinburg Police are investigating allegations of hazing that may have landed one Hamilton County high school student in the hospital.
Gatlinburg Police Department say they received a call from LeConte Medical Center in reference to an assault that occurred at a rental cabin located on Laurel Mountain Road.
Police say a male juvenile had been assaulted and taken to LeConte Medical Center by his coach.
The victim was later transported to the University of Tennessee Medical Center where he underwent surgery due to the extent of his injuries.
Few details are available, but NewsChannel 9 has confirmed that the Ooltewah High school boys basketball team participated in the Smoky Mountain Christmas Tournament this week in Gatlinburg.
The hospital is releasing no information about his condition or the nature of his injuries.
Ooltewah High School's Athletic Director Jesse Nayadley tells us that three students have been removed from the basketball team.
Gatlinburg Police confirmed the investigation in a fax sent to NewsChannel 9.
The investigation is continuing and charges are pending.
Depend on NewsChannel 9 bring you more details as they are available.