KINGFISHER, Okla. (KFOR) – After nearly two years of a federal lawsuit, lingering hazing allegations, and now a felony child neglect charge against Kingfisher High School’s head football coach – it appears to be coming to an end.
News 4 has been following the federal case between Kingfisher Public Schools and a John Doe, later identified as Mason Mecklenburg, since early 2022.
Mecklenburg, a former Kingfisher High School football player, was at the center of the lawsuit that unraveled the City of Kingfisher.
The lawsuit revealed an alleged coach-sanctioned brawl called the “Ring,” which Kingfisher High School football coach, Jeff Myers reportedly admitted to knowing about in a deposition.
Players would also whip each other with wet towels and shoot one another with paint ball guns at close range, according to the federal lawsuit.
A picture of Mecklenburg’s back showed severe bruising which he claimed was from being whipped with a wet towel.
Mecklenburg and his team of attorneys initially proposed a $1.5M settlement in this case. The Kingfisher Board of Education rejected that settlement in March 2022.
The settlement offer then increased to $5M, but the school district let the clock run out and the offer expired shortly after.
The settlement offer was upped to $10M. Each settlement request also included the firing of Myers.
Discussions were kept behind closed doors – and despite News 4 calling the Kingfisher Superintendent, David Glover, numerous times for comment over the months, we never heard anything.
Fast forward to Thursday and a settlement of $5M has been offered to Mecklenburg to close the case.
News 4 tried calling Supt. Glover again, but we were told he wasn’t in the office. We left a message, but our call was never returned.
Supt. Glover did speak with the Kingfisher Press and said, “The decision we reached to settle was from the advice of our counsel. There were a number of factors that went into the decision by our board but it was decided that the risk to our school system and to our patrons was too great to gamble on a jury trial that our attorneys just did not think we could win.”
Supt. Glover told the Kingfisher Press he couldn’t specifically comment on personnel issues, meaning whether or not Myers was still employed with the district.
Myers is currently on administrative leave pending the outcome of a felony charge of child neglect that was filed last month.
“Our settlement is in no way an admission of liability but it recognizes that the students, the school, the community come first and resolving this lawsuit and returning to our focus to education was of upmost importance,” Supt. Glover told the Kingfisher Press. “Due to factors beyond the administration’s control, this lawsuit was not covered by liability insurance. Our settlement decision was reached to protect the uninsured district from a potential loss the local taxpayers could not bear.”
According to the Kingfisher Press, the school district will pay $1.25M from the general fund within 90 days.
The remaining $3.75M will be paid from the school’s sinking fund, meaning it falls on the patrons of the school district over the next three years.
The attorneys for Mecklenburg told KFOR, “Mason Mecklenburg is pleased to have reached an agreement in principle that will allow everyone involved to move forward. No further comment at this time.”
His attorneys confirmed with News 4 the information provided to the Kingfisher Press is correct.
News 4 has reached out to the Oklahoma State Department of Education regarding Myers’ teaching license. We have not heard back.
According to OSDE’s website, Myers still has his license as of Thursday afternoon.