Proctor ends football season amid police investigation

The district told parents in an email it would “take action against substantiated misconduct” and would “address any and all problems in the football program.”

Proctor Public Schools canceled the remainder of its varsity football season as police invesitgate allegations of misconduct by members of the team. Clint Austin / 2019 file / Duluth News Tribune

A week after the news emerged that the Proctor football team was under investigation for misconduct, the school district announced the rest of the program's 2021 games are canceled.

In an email to parents sent Wednesday, the district said the “alleged serious misconduct” led to the decision to end the 2021 season.

“In order to enable us to do our due diligence and to give us the opportunity to properly investigate the allegations, we have made the decision to end our 9-12 (sic) grade football team activities for the season,” the email said. “Please know that this decision was not made hastily, and it was made with consultation with the Proctor Police Department, the Minnesota State High School League, the Proctor Public Schools Crisis Team and legal counsel.”


  • Community responds to Proctor football allegations A representative from the police department said the investigation is still active, but could not define the nature of it, or offer a timeline for conclusion because of privacy issues.

  • Proctor football team under investigation for alleged misconduct Superintendent John Engelking released a statement saying the district is fully cooperating with police.

Last week, the district confirmed the Police Department was investigating the allegations with the “full cooperation of Proctor Public Schools,” according to a statement provided by district superintendent John Engelking.
The district and police said they were unable to comment any further on the investigation because the alleged misconduct involves juveniles.


On Tuesday, some adults and teens held a demonstration outside the school at the beginning and end of the school day in support of the unnamed target of the football players’ alleged misconduct.

Engelking told the News Tribune that Derek Parendo is still on staff at the district and remains the team’s coach.

In the email, the district promised repercussions against any “substantiated” allegations.

“We will take action against substantiated misconduct and we will address any and all problems in the football program,” the email said. “We are absolutely confident that when the program resumes next season, we will be RailStrong by representing our families, school, and community in a positive way both on and off the field and by doing the right thing at all times.”

Emails to Engelking, Proctor High School Principal Tim Rowheder and activities director Anthony Wood went unanswered.

Jamey Malcomb has a been high school sports reporter for the Duluth News Tribune since October 2021. He spent the previous six years covering news and sports for the Lake County News-Chronicle in Two Harbors and the Cloquet Pine Journal. He graduated from the George Washington University in 1999 with a bachelor's degree in history and literature and also holds a master's degree in secondary English education from George Mason University.
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