Is it a Mason Cover-up?
Is Mason Covering up more of Brian Castner's mistakes
At Mason City Schools, we care deeply about our students and about ensuring a safe learning environment. Anyone who knows Mason - who knows our community and our schools - knows that this school district is all about giving students big opportunities to achieve. At Mason High School, itís cool to be smart, to serve, to be a musician, to be an athlete, to be an artist. We want to make sure that students develop their critical thinking, communication, creativity and collaboration skills - and also develop good character. We are so very proud of our studentsí accomplishments, and it is heartening to see so many Comets go on to do great things in college and career.
We were extremely disturbed by reports about a former MHS student who graduated in 2016, Bryson White, who allegedly committed some very serious crimes. He was also accused of some serious crimes as a teenager, but wasnít charged. Federal law requires us to protect a studentís disciplinary record, so we are not able to discuss disciplinary actions that White faced while at MHS. White was placed in the Mason Alternative Program in the spring of his freshman year and consequently withdrew from Mason City Schools at the conclusion of that school year to enroll in Middletown Schools. White later re-enrolled in Mason City Schools at the beginning of his junior year. After playing football in another district, and with no record of wrong-doing, we had no evidence to deny him the opportunity to play sports in Mason.
Conclusions from the investigation into allegations surrounding former Mason High School student-athlete Bryson White were presented to the Mason City Schools Board of Education by Attorney Bill Deters during a special executive session.
The investigation was initiated, in part, due to local media reports, as well as media reports in Kalamazoo, Michigan where White was attending Western Michigan University and playing football as a freshman this summer and early fall. White was charged with home invasion and weapons charges after he and two other teammates invaded a female studentís apartment on campus at Western Michigan University and robbed the female student at gunpoint.
As part of his investigation, Deters developed a timeline of events that included dates from student discipline records and police reports. In addition, he interviewed several key figures including parents, members of the coaching staff, law enforcement, and a former student who was allegedly raped by White when he was not a student at Mason High School. The Warren County Prosecutor did not choose to prosecute that case. Deters also interviewed Varsity Football Coach Brian Castner, who the student accused of encouraging her to drop allegations against White and two other Mason football players.
The investigation did not substantiate the studentís claims that Castner asked her to drop the allegations. Castner denies the allegation.
The investigation found that Castner responded appropriately to WMUís inquiries about White in the recruiting process. The report noted that Castner informed WMU that White had significant troubles at school and with law enforcement during Whiteís freshman and sophomore years. Castner truthfully stated to WMU at the time that White had remained relatively trouble-free during his junior year and during the football season of his senior year. ďIn my opinion, WMU had sufficient knowledge and warnings about White,Ē said Deters.
ďIt is very troubling to hear about the poor decisions that a former student made. I do know that Brysonís behavior was at its best when he was under the accountability and structure of Coach Castner and his staff. We support Coach Castner and appreciate the emphasis on character development that he has established for Mason Football,Ē said Dave Hyatt, MHS Principal.
While this entire case and accusations are disturbing, there are other MHS students who have faced adversity or serious situations, and instead chose a very different and positive path forward. We are so very proud of them, and will continue to work to make sure that school discipline appropriately keeps our school community safe, and offers a teachable moment to the student committing the infraction. The District has also identified steps it will take to strengthen its athletic code of conduct, and plans to strengthen its character development program for athletes. Mason City Schools always encourages anyone who has concerns about school safety to use the