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Options presented to resolve incident involving Hesston HS principal, students

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Published: Feb. 4, 2021 at 4:23 PM CST
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WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - The Harvey County Attorney’s Office on Thursday (Feb. 4) announced that it will present options “encouraging conflict resolution communications” for a September incident involving Hesston High School Principal Tyler Rhodes and students.

The county attorney’s office said Rhodes, 44, is accused of throwing a baseball bat at a moving vehicle in a Hesston neighborhood on Sept. 27. There were six students inside the vehicle, which allegedly was being driven recklessly at the time. No one was injured.

“This is an unfortunate situation where all parties involved made poor choices that put the safety of each other, and the community, at risk,” said Harvey County Attorney Jason Lane.

In lieu of charges, Lane gave everyone involved the option to participate in “a restorative justice process.”

“Restorative justice programs enable all individuals impacted by the harm caused by an incident to be directly involved in responding to the offenses,” the Harvey County Attorney’s Office explained. “With trained professionals serving as facilitators, the parties become central to the criminal justice process by meeting together to seek accountability for actions, reparation for loss and full participation of all impacted.”

The county attorney’s office said participation in the restorative justice program would defer any charges being filed in this case.

“All seven individuals have received the option to participate. The program is not dependent on each individual agreeing to take part.

“The Attorney’s Office will reconsider filing charges stemming from the incident for any individual that declines participation in the restorative justice process,” the office said.

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