Ongoing debate over whether to install artificial turf athletic fields or grass fields at the regional high school dominated the district committee meeting Monday evening. After heated discussion, the committee decided to consider both turf and grass options during the feasibility study phase of the project to overhaul the playing fields.

The two-hour meeting was marked by more than one point of contention, including during discussion of a recent hazing incident involving the field hockey team.

As planning for an overhaul of the high school track gets underway, the committee discussed the scope of the feasibility study.

Last year the high school adopted a 10-year grass fields policy as part of negotiations with the pro-grass community group the Field Fund. The parent-led organization was proposing to fund an overhaul of all the school’s athletic fields, but negotiations stalled.

On Monday night the committee debated whether the grass fields policy should be rescinded in order to explore all the options.

“We’re well aware the high school has established a grass campus policy,” facilities subcommittee chairman Jeffrey (Skipper) Manter 3rd said. “The question is, does this committee want us to even look at the possibility of using turf, or do they want to stand behind and maintain the grass field policy.”

School committee chairman Kris O’Brien and other committee members said discussion of changing policies was premature, but Robert Lionette disagreed.

“We have a policy. We either adhere to it or we don’t,” he said. “I don’t think it’s appropriate to ask an outside agency to act in a manner that in any way contradicts [that] policy.”

Amy Houghton said on the contrary, constant research is necessary to maintain vital policies and to be sure they remain relevant.

“To say we can’t even look at that is contrary to good strategic planning and policy development,” she said.

She added that the committee specifically hired Daedelus Projects Inc. as a project consultant because the company had worked with both grass and turf field projects. The committee has not yet hired a contractor for the project.

In a show of hands, the majority of the committee supported the inclusion of turf research. Mr. Lionette opposed it. The committee took no action to change the grass-only policy.

Field Fund founders Mollie Doyle, Rebekah Thomson and Dardanella Slavin attended the meeting. Reading from a statement written by superintendent of schools Dr. Matthew D’Andrea, Ms. Doyle reminded the committee of its commitment to grass. “Dr. D’Andrea, last year, on behalf of the Field Fund you wrote, the Martha’s Vineyard Public School System is committed to utilizing best practices relative to field maintenance and is dedicated to an organic grass field maintenance and treatment program,” Ms. Doyle read in part. “This approach will allow us to provide our students with quality athletic fields while protecting the Island’s water supply.”

Ms. Doyle also asked that the Field Fund be consulted during the research phase. Artificial turf proponent Terry Donahue was also present and urged the committee to keep its options open.

Project consultant Daedelus Projects Inc. has scheduled the conceptual phase of the planning process to begin later this month or in early October.

In a related discussion, the committee decided that the feasibility study should include all the athletic fields, not just the track and infield, though the track is the priority project.

In other business, a recent hazing incident involving the high school field hockey team sparked emotional discussion.

School administrators were notified about 10 days ago that a team-building event held at an off-campus site had left some team members feeling uncomfortable. After investigation, administrators concluded that the activity constituted hazing under state law. Principal Sara Dingledy said later that disciplinary action was taken against longtime coach Lisa Knight, although the details were not made public. Personnel issues fall under the discretion of the administration. Ms. Dingledy said school resource officer Jillian Sedlier of the Oak Bluffs police department had been formally made aware of the incident.

Athletic director Mark McCarthy said no drugs, alcohol or physical injury were involved, and that the incident fell under the category of humiliation.

The topic was not listed on the meeting agenda Monday, but some school committee members insisted it be discussed. Ms. Houghton expressed deep disappointment with the team coach, captains and the school athletic department.

“I’m confounded that there’s not been more of an educational plan. I’m confounded that the athletic director isn’t here knowing that this would likely come up,” she said, adding: “It’s really concerning about the leadership for our kids in the athletic department.”

Mr. Manter expressed similar disappointment.

“The students were supposed to be protected and it just disturbs me greatly,” he said. “We failed, and that’s what upsets me the most.”

Kim Kirk said the high school response was not severe enough.

“There is a broader view there . . . and that is the message that we as a school are sending to the students who were reportedly victimized, to the people who were engaging in such activity, and to the other students who are looking at this,” she said. “And I think we need to be very careful about what the message is that we are sending as to our tolerance of such behavior.”

Ms. Dingledy agreed to continue to revisit the way the school educates athletes about hazing and said the issue is being discussed with each athletic team.

The committee also heard an update from Mr. D’Andrea on the high school application for state funding support for a school building project. He said representatives from the Massachusetts School Building Authority (MSBA) toured the building last month and he is hopeful the school will be invited to participate in the state’s school building process.

The committee voted unanimously to create a student activities account for Project Vine, the alternative program. Danielle Charbonneau, chairman of the program, reported that it has doubled in size this year, with a total enrollment of 24 students.

The committee also voted to reappoint Ms. O’Brien as committee chairman and selected Ms. Kirk as vice chairman.