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Lake Park-Audubon girls basketball coach reinstated after investigation into player, parent complaints

Head Coach Jay Peterson, back left, has been reinstated at Lake Park-Audubon. Assistant Coach Ashley Tingelstad, back right, has also returned to the team. Photo: Caufield Studios

LAKE PARK, Minn. — Jay Peterson has been reinstated as head coach of the Lake Park-Audubon girls basketball team, and Assistant Coach Ashley Tingelstad has also returned to the team, which played Fosston at home on Monday, Jan. 29.

Conflict between Peterson, some players and some parents led to complaints to the school board, which caused Peterson to be placed on paid administrative leave last week during an investigative process.

LP-A High School Principal Mary Merchant completed the investigation last week and school district administration acted to reinstate Peterson as head coach.

The investigation was done in consultation with the school district's attorney, Kristi Hastings, along with the Minnesota High School League and legal counsel with the Minnesota Association of Secondary School Principals, said LP-A Superintendent Dale Hogie.

Hogie said he, Peterson, Tingelstad and other LP-A staff members met Monday morning with girls basketball players.

"When teams are made up of several girls ranging from grades seven to 12, those girls will have different expectations and perceptions," he said.

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"Every adult involved this past week—coaches, parents, administrators and school board members—want your basketball participation to be a positive part of your whole school experience," Hogie told the girls.

Unfortunately, he added, "you have fallen into a position of uncertainty as some things have been worked out."

The team was left without coaches last week, and Hogie thanked those who stepped in to help fill the void during practice sessions.

"Each of you, and all the teams, have experienced success and demonstrated potential this season—I encourage you to take a team focus, support each other, and most of all, respect each other," he said. "That's how you will grow as a team and proceed towards both team and individual success."

He urged any student with concerns or uncomfortable feelings regarding recent or ongoing events to contact school counselor Jamie Nelson.

"Thank you for your time and I wish you the best this season and in years to come," Hogie said.

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