School officials in Haverhill, Massachusetts have called a "time out" for the entire football team, by canceling the rest of the season — including the big Thanksgiving game.
It's all because of allegations of misconduct students on the team are facing. The football coaches have been placed on paid administrative leave, while the school and police conduct a full investigation.
What Sparked the Investigation?
A letter from Superintendent of Haverhill Public Schools Margaret Margotta and other district officials said "significant material was uncovered" that "impacts the direction of the investigation and the entire school community."
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Although specifics on the incident were not detailed, the letter said the district "will not tolerate hazing, harassment, or retaliation in any form."
In a statement, Haverhill Mayor James Fiorentini said he was briefed on the hazing incident, saying he was "alarmed, concerned and frankly disgusted by what I have been told and by the video that I was shown." The mayor's statement also indicated that students involved had been suspended.
Students in Haverhill told NBC10 Boston that video of this hazing incident in the locker room at the football stadium began circulating last month.
They say it appeared to show several football players assaulting a freshman on the team – and it appeared sexual in nature.
“It was gross, it was dirty, it was disgusting," Haverhill High School student Elliot Batista said. "I didn’t like what I had seen, I didn’t know what to say."
Another student felt that the punishment was appropriate so far.
“So, it’s a good start for them canceling all their games, forfeiting is a good way to show that now we’re learning our lesson, now we’re taking it a step forward to the matter of us doing dumb things," junior Felix Molina said.