PIEDMONT -- Phones were ringing off the hook at school district offices Monday as word spread about the high school's fantasy sex league involving boys in varsity sports and girls who participate in sexual activity, then rack up "points" similar to fantasy sports leagues.
The media coverage exploded over the weekend with reports on television and online postings after Piedmont High principal Rich Kitchens issued an advisory to parents and news outlets that the league came to light following a recent date rape assembly.
Kitchens acknowledged that the practice may have existed for several years and involved alcohol and/or pressure by older students to participate in the league through peer pressure.
"The advisory was a no-brainer," Kitchens said Monday. "It was important to share with parents what we knew. We tend to take a broad view of the well being of our students. It's not just about reading and math."
Kitchens said that school officials' investigation and talks with students "convinced us we may not know everything, but we know enough, that kids were hurt.
"Good kids can make bad decisions. We all make mistakes. The key is what you do afterward."
He has no sense at this point how many students were involved in the "league."
At an assembly planned in early December, students will be confidentially interviewed one by one afterward, Kitchens said, not only about this issue but others such as cyberbullying or harassment.
Response from parents has been mostly positive, he said.
Schools Superintendent Connie Hubbard issued a statement Monday that said, "This is a matter of school and family working together to support our teens to make good choices and to treat each other with respect and dignity.
"We wanted to communicate to families to encourage a dialogue and to inform parents of what we as a school community are doing to proactively address activities that are detrimental to the culture we want for our students.
"We are confident that our students are capable and willing to step up the challenge to be active participants in strengthening what is fundamentally a safe, respectful school community."
A smattering of Facebook postings ranged from "Shameful!" to "Way to go Piedmont!" to "We used to play that game but never got caught. Back in my day we never tweeted."
One student wrote to an online site that the school was overreacting and had no business reporting "on something with no factual information."
Interim police Chief Scott Wyatt said Monday there have been no reports of sexual assaults in the wake of the scandal.
"There is something going on at the kid level and adults found out about it," Wyatt said. "At the first inkling you need to take a nip-in-the-bud approach."
Wyatt said counseling centers such as the school's Wellness Center can help students sort things out in a confidential setting.