Skiatook teachers say videotape investigation unfair


Tuesday, September 12th 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6


The Skiatook School Board held it’s first full-length meeting Monday night since The News on Six aired the exclusive story which showed a former coach, Harry Red Eagle, Junior, placing a camera inside a girl's locker room. School board members went into executive session to talk about a lawsuit filed against them in the case as well an internal investigation about the incident.

Much of the excitement was outside the meeting room as teachers talked about the school's investigation. Some Skiatook teachers say the investigation into the locker room videotaping has been unfair. “They are feeling that they are being intimidated,” said Iva Lynn Hobson, president of the Skiatook Education Association. “The people that talked to them were trying to intimidate them, scare them into saying what they wanted to hear. It was not necessarily what they wanted to say."

Hobson says at least six teachers who have been questioned, have contacted here about the way the investigation is being conducted. The News on Six has learned the high school has called in a number of employees for questioning. Some of those who were questioned are listed as witnesses in an affidavit. Some of the interviews with those witnesses were also recorded. School employees were asked a list of questions, including who had possession of the locker room videotapes, how long did they have them in their possession and the names of those employees who were given the videotapes.

Hobson says the teachers who have been interviewed, feel the investigation is punishing those who are trying to protect the children. “We're afraid it's going to get our heroes in trouble,” she said. “They are the people who exposed the tapes. People of this community are standing beside them, like I am. We want to be right there with them, because they are heroes. It's our young girls in this community that were violated," she continued.

The attorney for the school says the investigation has been thorough and very fair. He also says an outside private investigator was hired. Red Eagle Jr.'s father is the superintendent of the schools. Harry Red Eagle, Senior was in attendance at Monday night’s board meeting. He didn't take part in the executive session.

The school's attorney says investigators are not to discuss anything about the case with the superintendent. Red Eagle, Jr. has resigned and has been charged with six felony counts.

One group of parents at Monday night’s Skiatook board meeting formed a Parent-Citizen Coalition. Their goal is to improve communication among people with school concerns and with the board and the school superintendent.

The group formed after KOTV first made public a tape which showed former coach Harry Red Eagle, Junior, placing a camera in a girl’s locker room. The group says they are a neutral party that can serve as a go-between for citizens and school leaders. "The biggest thing that would get us in trouble as a coalition would be assigning motives to actions,” said coalition spokesman Mike Eckenfels. “We just want to be giving out information and requesting a response."

The coalition says school leaders have been cooperative and supportive of their plan. If you would like to contact the coalition, call their hotline at (918) 396-3193. Their e-mail address is pccss@pccss.intranets.com.