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Head coach resigns after football players involved in brawl

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Police said parents supplied alcohol to minors

STAFF REPORT

The Ellis County Press

MIDLOTHIAN – A Halloween party resulted in one Midlothian High School football player’s suspension, the head coach’s resignation and could end in criminal charges filed against other players and parents for allegedly supplying alcohol to MHS students, according to officials.

The party occurred at 1310 N. Mockingbird Lane, home to H.B. & Mindy Moody, but law enforcement officials said a varsity cheerleader and her cousin organized the party.

The Moody family could not be reached for comment after repeated attempts.

Investigators with area police departments and the Ellis County Sheriff s Office identified the sons of Midlothian School Board Trustee Tom Moore and MHS Assistant Principal Rebecca Blackburn as being involved in the staging of the party, but criminal charges could be filed against a now-suspended football player for accusations he and a group of friends assaulted party-goers with baseball bats.

MISD officials , including Blackburn and head football coach Robby Clark referred all requests for comment to Jana Hathorne, MISD’s public relations director. Clark resigned Friday, Nov. 13 after The Ellis County Press contacted MISD for comment on the incident.

"The District is aware of an incident involving students at a Halloween party that occurred off school property on Saturday night Oct.31," Hathorne stated in an e-mail.

"The District has investigated this matter and has taken corrective action deemed necessary to ensure the safety of its students.

"Due to state and federal laws concerning student privacy, the District can’t release any further information regarding this matter."

Moore, whose in-laws own the Mockingbird Lane property, also declined to comment.

Beer pouring

According to several interviews with students, parents and law enforcement officials, the fight began when defensive back Promise Jackson had beer poured on him "accidently."

The incident resulted, according to sources, in Jackson leaving and coming back to the party with friends carrying baseball bats.

Witnesses and law enforcement officials said a fight broke out among the players and other partygoers, attending the Halloween event several weeks before the Panthers’ last game of the season.

One player, Vicent Panza, was assaulted with a baseball bat requiring major surgery.

Friends and family of Promise Jackson pointed to the unfairness of his punishment. A 90-day suspension in MISD’s alternative education program, when players related to school officials were only told to sit out the final game of the year.

"Parents were actually irate because the entire starting group had to sit out the last game, but the school district kept things hush-hush," said one law enforcement official who was investigating the incident.

According to Sheriff Johnny Brown, R-Midlothian, his department was still investigating the matter.

Law enforcement personnel called to the scene, said criminal charges were likely, and parents who supplied the alcohol for the party have asked them what to expect in the coming weeks.

"This case is going to get real interesting because of the prominence of the sons of the assistant principal and the school board member, as well as many parents afraid to pursue charges against the aggressors due to fear of retaliation," said one local chief of police.

Parents and students said "they feared for their lives" at the party.

The police chief said a new anti-gang state law which took effect Sept. 1 could be used for the prosecution if sheriff deputies refer the case to County/District Attorney Joe Grubbs.

Graduation keg party

Parents who have retained lawyers, according to investigators on the case, said they would point to the 2000 graduation party, hosted by the daughter of former School Board Trustee Cindy Williams as evidence of a double standard, should charges be brought before them.

"Nothing was done to Williams even though she wasnt home at the time of her daughters keg party," one investigator said.

"But these parents [ at this Halloween party ] were home and they supplied it to these kids.

"It’s going to be hard to fight that one."

Williams, first elected in 2000, has long maintained her daughter threw the party unknown to her and her husband.


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