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KWHS

Students head back to Kelly Walsh High School after their lunch break on Dec. 12.  

Police investigated an incident this winter of bullying or hazing at Kelly Walsh High School and concluded a crime had occurred, a police sergeant said Thursday.

The disclosure comes after a Natrona County School District spokeswoman acknowledged that officials launched an investigation after an incident of “extreme bullying” somewhere within the district. Officials offered no details, and it was unclear Thursday if the two incidents were the same.

The initial incident report received by the police department indicated a possible assault and battery, said Sgt. Scott Jones, who oversees the Casper Police Department’s school resource officers. The incident in question occurred sometime around the recently concluded winter break.

After investigating that report, police determined a crime had taken place, although Jones said he did not know if the investigation confirmed the report of an assault and battery.

Jones declined to reveal specifics about the investigation, saying that there were minors involved in the incident. He said that the police department had forwarded the results of the investigation to the Natrona County District Attorney’s Office.

Although the investigation indicated that criminal activity had taken place, Jones said, the district attorney’s office will determine whether to press charges in the case.

District Attorney Michael Blonigen said everyone involved in the incident is under the age of 18, and declined to characterize the incident due to the ages of the people involved. He said his office was having conversations with the police department about the incident as recently as Wednesday.

“Police are on top of it,” Blonigen said.

If the incident leads to a prosecution, the charges and any resulting disposition will never be made public, Blonigen said. He noted that Wyoming does not have a specific anti-hazing statute.

In response to repeated inquiries from the Star-Tribune, a school district spokeswoman said Tuesday that an incident of “extreme bullying” took place somewhere in the district. She would not release further details, including the school where it occurred, the grade level of the students involved or when the incident took place.

A district statement characterized the incident as “an isolated incident involving a violation of the student code of conducts.” The district says it launched an investigation, and a student or students were disciplined as a result. However, the district has refused to offer any details about the nature of the discipline.

The district spokeswoman, Tanya Southerland, said that releasing any further information about the incident would run the risk of identifying students involved.

Southerland did not respond Thursday to an emailed request for comment.

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Crime and Courts Reporter

Shane Sanderson is a Star-Tribune reporter who primarily covers criminal justice. Sanderson is a proud University of Missouri graduate. Lately, he’s been reading Cormac McCarthy and cooking Italian food. He writes about his own life in his free time.

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