CONWAY — The Kennett High football team will be shorthanded when it kicks off the 2019 season at Hanover on Friday due to suspensions that were levied on players for their involvement in the killing of a duck while at football camp last month.
The Sun has learned that between three and six Eagles will be suspended for up to three games. None of the boys suspended was a senior.
All had attended a Kennett High School-sponsored football camp that was held on the grounds of Camp Winaukee in Moultonborough from Aug. 20-22.
William Hoch, an attorney for Camp Winaukee, told the Sun in an email on Wednesday that “Kennett High School leased the premises of Camp Winaukee, after our camp season concluded, to hold their school-sponsored training camp for their football team.
“The owners and management of Camp Winaukee had no involvement with the operations or supervision of the football camp or its attendees.”
According to its website, Camp Winaukee is a private residential boys’ camp on beautiful Lake Winnipesaukee in the White Mountains of New Hampshire.
The website continued: “Founded in 1920, Winaukee enjoys a reputation as one of the premier sports and adventure camps in America.”
The football camp has been an annual event for the Eagles. Eight chaperones were on this trip. The cost per athlete was $125 to attend the program.
Head football coach and physical education teacher Vaughn Beckwith applied to the school superintendent to hold the camp, and later it was unanimously approved by the Conway School Board on July 22.
There are 56 boys — 11 seniors, 14 juniors, 13 sophomores and 18 freshmen — on the team.
The duck-killing incident, which was recorded and posted on the internet, involved the animal being lured by a group of boys out of the waters of Lake Winnipesaukee’s Moultonborough Bay. It was then beaten with a broomstick and later strangled to death.
Apparently criminal charges will not be filed.
Sgt. Alex Lopashanski of the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department said: “The school called me, and I met with the coach and athletic director.
“I am not pursuing charges.”
Moultonborough Police Chief John Monaghan III said Wednesday that the incident was not reported to the police department.
He did say there was a noise complaint concerning the camp reported on Aug. 20, but that was about music and bright lights.
New Hampshire’s animal cruelty law, 644:8, says that a person “is guilty of a misdemeanor for a first offense, and of a Class B felony for a second or subsequent offense, who: (a) Without lawful authority negligently deprives or causes to be deprived any animal in his possession or custody necessary care, sustenance or shelter; (b) Negligently beats, cruelly whips, tortures, mutilates or in any other manner mistreats or causes to be mistreated any animal.”
The Kennett High Eagles’ football team had been scheduled to attend the Laconia Jamboree on Aug. 24 for their first scrimmage of the preseason, but the team did not go due to the incident.
Superintendent Kevin Richard and newly hired KHS Principal Kevin Carpenter were both contacted for comment. Richard responded on Wednesday: “There was an incident looked at by the coaches and athletic director and dealt with by them in a swift and fair manner.”
Richard declined to identify the students.
Carpenter said last Friday: “We had an incident involving some members of the football team. We decided to cancel our participation in the jamboree. An investigation took place, the matter has been dealt with, and we are moving forward.”