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Pranks land Iowa high school program on probation

LAWTON, Iowa (AP) — A northwest Iowa high school softball team's pranks at a state tournament have landed the school's athletic program on probation.

The Sioux City Journal reported Thursday that probation for the Lawton-Bronson High School girls program will last for a year. The Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union said that if there's misconduct during the probation, the school faces a year's suspension from all state and regional tournaments.

The pranks occurred in Iowa Central Community College dormitories, where the girls stayed during the tournament July 22-26 in Fort Dodge.

“We readily acknowledge it happened, and we as a district and as a team are taking steps to make sure there's an acceptance of responsibility and a strong desire to move forward in a positive way that helps kids grow,” Lawton-Bronson district Superintendent Jeff Thelander said.

Thelander said the players covered a dorm door in plastic wrap and placed dozens of paper cups filled with water outside doors of opposing players. Thelander also said inappropriate notes were stuck to players’ dorm room doors.

Mike Dick, executive director of the Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union, said the team was asked to leave the community college dorm.

“They were there as guests of the Iowa Central Community College and some of the things they did were simply not acceptable in our eyes,” he said. “And as a result, we thought certain sanctions were necessary.”

Thelander said a meeting with the girls was planned for Friday. None of the players would be removed from the team, but Thelander wouldn't say if any faced disciplinary action.

Among the topics at the meeting will be sportsmanship and appropriate behavior when school resumes this month, he said.

“There is a lot of remorse about the situation and it's our job to take a bad situation and help students grow from it,” Thelander said.