Portsmouth High School boys hockey team accused of sexual harassment, substance use

PORTSMOUTH, R. I. (WLNE) — The Portsmouth High School boys hockey team is facing scrutiny after the release of a video on social media.

The Rhode Island High School Hockey Coaches Association released a statement condemning the alleged behavior in the videos, including substance use on school property and sexual harassment.

“We are appalled at the behavior that was displayed in the locker room and was posted on social media,” the statement read.

“First and most importantly, we are concerned with the underage drinking in the locker room. Secondly, the student athletes involved displayed a complete lack of sportsmanship and respect to their team, coaches, school, community and family. Lastly, we are concerned regarding the sexual harassment that was portrayed in the video towards a female student,” the release continued.

In a statement released earlier this month, Superintendent Thomas Kenworthy, wrote in part that “we are deeply troubled by this incident, which clearly does not reflect the values and expectations we have for PSD students or student-athletes.”

In his release, he detailed the consequences that the players would face, including forfeiting two games and receiving substance abuse education and/or counseling in accordance with their involvement in the incident.

“We will be evaluating our procedures for the supervision of student-athletes before, during, and after all practices, games, and other team activities,” he continued. “We will also be directing all coaches to remind every student-athlete about the district’s policies related to drug and alcohol use and other rules of conduct that are outlined at the beginning of every season. Coaches will also use these opportunities to remind student-athletes that inappropriate behavior by even one member of a team can have significant consequences for the entire team.”

The incident happened in the hometown arena of former student-athlete Matthew Dennison who was killed by a suspected drunk driver last year.

In response to the release, the coaches association criticized the district’s punishment of the team members, saying it is not enough.

“This is what is wrong with our world today. They think they can do whatever they want and suffer no serious consequences. The sad part here is that is exactly what happened,” the coaches association wrote. “A two-game suspension? What are we teaching our children?”

Community members in Portsmouth were also aggravated with the response, agreeing the consequences aren’t enough, and that the Rhode Island Interscholastic League needs to act as well. They denied the request to go on camera.

ABC 6 News also reached out to the league for a statement but have yet to hear back.

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