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UPDATE: At 9:15 a.m. Friday, Nov. 10, Neligh-Oakdale Superintendent Scott Gregory released a statement to the media. This story has been updated with that statement.
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Neligh-Oakdale will launch an investigation into student matters following a special meeting of the Board of Education on Thursday night.
The exact “student matters” were not made public during the meeting.
The board was scheduled to meet for its regular meeting on Monday, Nov. 13. However, the board instead called for a special meeting rather than adding the item to Monday’s agenda.
The special meeting was announced Wednesday afternoon, less than 24 hours after a blog was released by a Neligh-Oakdale graduate alleging that she was bullied while at the school. When the meeting was announced, Superintendent Scott Gregory said in an email that the school had no comment on the meeting.
All but about five minutes of Thursday’s 57-minute special meeting was held in executive session, but not all members wanted to keep the public out of the meeting.
Ron Gilg made the motion to go into closed session to receive and discuss legal advice on student matters. Kenny Reinke was the only member to vote against closed session.
Guidance counselor April Knust was also at the meeting and asked to address the board; however, the board denied her the opportunity to speak.
With a 4-1 vote, the board entered closed session at 7:04 p.m. They exited at 7:57 and voted to authorize and direct Gregory to release a statement regarding student matters, conduct and investigation, work with legal counsel and to report his findings of the investigation to the board.
On Friday morning, Gregory released the following statement to the media: "As the result of a school improvement survey, we were recently notified by former students about bullying and harassment concerns. We take any report of bullying and harassment seriously. The administration is launching a complete and thorough investigation and will report our findings to the board. State and federal confidentiality laws prevent us from communicating with you about the specifics of student and personnel matters. However, we will keep our school partners and community members informed about our school culture to the fullest extent possible. The school district has policies and procedures in place to address allegations of unlawful harassment and bullying. If you have any concerns regarding these matters you would like to share, please contact Superintendent Scott Gregory, High School Principal George Loofe, or Elementary Principal Mary Schrader at (402) 887-4166."