High School Football Team at Center of Hazing Probe | NECN
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High School Football Team at Center of Hazing Probe

State and local authorities are investigating hazing allegations involving members of the Cromwell-Portland football team, according to the superintendent in neighboring Portland. NBC Connecticut received emails from concerned parents claiming that Cromwell High School football players were hazing other teammates. A source within the police department said a minor has been arrested in connection with the case. (Published Tuesday, Sept. 1, 2015)

State and local authorities are investigating hazing allegations involving members of the Cromwell-Portland football team, according to the superintendent in neighboring Portland.

NBC Connecticut received emails from concerned parents claiming that Cromwell High School football players were hazing other teammates. A source within the police department said a minor has been arrested in connection with the case.

Parents who chose to remain anonymous, fearing retaliation against their children, said the alleged hazing occurred in the boys' locker room.

According parents, one senior lined up freshmen and hit them with a belt, while others blocked the doors and windows and turned off the lights.

Dr. Philip B. O'Reilly, superintendent of Portland Public Schools, said in a letter to parents and staff members Tuesday "the allegations do involve several underclassmen from both Portland and Cromwell who may have been hazing targets."

Cromwell police are investigating alongside the Cromwell High School administration and the state Department of Children and Families, according to O'Reilly, who said the principal and athletic director at Portland High School have contacted players' parents and launched an investigation of their own.

Cromwell superintendent Dr. Paula M. Talty said the school district "will not tolerate harassment" and is cooperating with investigators.

"Cromwell community members should be reassured that the safety of our children is the district’s foremost concern and there are many policies and procedures in place to ensure the wellbeing of all our children. If we find after an investigation that any student has in fact been harassed, or has been treated inappropriately in any other way, we will take appropriate action to address the matter," Talty said in a statement Tuesday.

She declined to say whether any staff members were involved but added that the school system "will take action as we deem appropriate" if the investigation reveals any employees behaved inappropriately.

The football coach could not be reached for comment Tuesday.

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