Varsity Football Team Under Investigation for Alleged Harassment


Madilyn Vander Sanden

Middleton High School varsity football coach Jason Pertzborn addresses his team at a football game. Pertzborn resigned, citing personal reasons, from his teaching and coaching positions amid an investigation into alleged harassment within the football team.

Lauren Lamson

The Middleton Police Department announced in a media release on Friday, Jan. 27 that they were working with the Middleton-Cross Plains Area School District in an investigation into alleged harassment on the Middleton High School (MHS) varsity football team.

The Middleton Police Department is involved “to determine if there were any criminal violations” and has been collaborating with the District to investigate the allegations, which were reported to the District over a week ago. 

In an email to MHS families sent on Jan. 27, the District addressed the issue and stated the investigation is ongoing. 

“The District takes allegations of bullying and harassment seriously and we will work to ensure that our students continue to feel safe and supported in an environment free from harassment,” the statement said.

MHS Principal Peggy Shoemaker declined to comment on the situation, citing confidentiality amid the ongoing investigation. District employees have been asked not to speak to the media about the football team.

The allegations include bullying and possible misconduct on a team group chat. Students and families have spent the weekend passing around rumors on various social media formats, which The Cardinal Chronicle cannot confirm. 

At a school board meeting on Jan. 26, the board confirmed the resignation of Jason Pertzborn, former varsity football head coach and business teacher at MHS. Pertzborn played varsity football during his years as an MHS student in the late 1980s and early 1990s. He resigned from his teaching and coaching positions citing personal reasons. The District promptly removed Pertzborn from the staff list on the MHS website. 

Students and staff will be questioned in the coming weeks as the investigation continues. The District asks that students with information come forward and urges students to tell the truth during questioning. 

Meanwhile, construction on the Otto Breitenbach Stadium Complex, a $13 million dollar improvement project, continues. The stadium is scheduled to be completed by spring. 

*The Cardinal Chronicle reached out to District PR Representative, Shannon Valladolid, regarding the investigation over the weekend and has not received a response.