A Pennsylvania high school has been told that it must cancel the remainder of its football season amid an investigation into claims of hazing.
Central Bucks School District superintendent Dr. David P. Weitzel announced in a letter Thursday that the Central Bucks West high school football team's final two games will not be played and that all varsity and junior varsity coaches have been suspended due to "improper conduct" on the part of multiple players. Later, Weitzel refers to a section of the District Code of Conduct that forbids acts of “hazing and/or initiation ceremonies,” or similar conduct.
The letter says allegations were first raised on Oct. 14. An ensuing investigation revealed multiple violations by the "majority" of players during preseason team-building activities, in which new players were called on to participate in initiations.
From the letter:
The most personally invasive activity required a rookie to grab another player’s private parts while fully clothed. These initiations took place in front of most team members. I want to be clear that these activities did not result in physical harm, but were not harmless. Players who did not directly participate, but witnessed and failed to report the activities, also violated the Code of Conduct.
Weitzel said the coaches were suspended for failing to "properly supervise" the team. He also apologized to all team members affected by the incidents.
It's unclear what disciplinary action, if any, has been or will be taken against those students involved, or if a criminal investigation will be initiated.
Central Bucks West is located in Bucks County, about 30 miles north of Philadelphia.
The news of incidents at Central Bucks West comes several weeks after explosive allegations of hazing came to light at Sayreville War Memorial High School in Sayreville, N.J.
It has been alleged that hazing rituals at Sayreville involved digital penetration of players, and seven players have been charged with hazing and sexual assault. Five coaches have reportedly been suspended from coaching and teaching.
Weitzel said all players and personnel on all teams within Central Bucks West's district will be re-instructed on the policies of the district's code of conduct.
- Ben Estes