The principal of Damascus (Md.) High School, the football powerhouse that has found itself in an unwanted spotlight since an alleged hazing incident crossed the line into sexual assault six months ago, has stepped down in the latest staff shakeup at the school.
The resignation of Casey Crouse, the 48-year-old school leader who served as principal for two years, marked the first non-athletic department employee to step aside temporarily or permanently as a result of the hazing scandal and subsequent investigation. Junior varsity football coach Vincent Colbert was placed on administrative leave in April, as the investigation into the incident ramped up, and athletic director Joseph Doody was placed on leave on Tuesday, as reported by the Baltimore Sun.
Meanwhile, Eric Wallich, the team’s head coach, remains in place at the school.
“The horrific incident of October 31 has demanded significant attention from school and system leadership and has drawn ongoing negative media attention,” Crouse wrote in her letter of resignation. “It has become clear that in order for Damascus High School to move forward, it will require new school leadership.”
An interim leader will be appointed until the end of the 2018-19 school year.
While the outrage against Crouse has been more muted than that against Colbert and Doody, in particular, all three reportedly failed to report an alleged rape with a broomstick on the night of Oct. 31, the incident that has sparked the ongoing investigation and recriminations. Still, parents of students at the school clearly recognized there was an appetite and need for change, as they told the Sun:
Alaina Dahlin, a Damascus parent, credited Crouse for positive changes during her two years as principal but said that published reports suggest she erred in not calling police the evening after the locker room attacks.
“It’s such a mess,” Dahlin said. “It will be nice for everyone to start fresh.”