Dexter High football players suspended after ‘serious’ hazing incident, principal says

By Alex Barber, BDN Staff
Posted Nov. 26, 2012, at 7:57 p.m.

DEXTER, Maine — More than 10 members of Dexter Regional High School’s football team were handed suspensions related to an alleged postseason hazing incident during a sleepover at the school.

“There was an incident — it’s a serious incident,” Principal Stephen Bell said Monday evening.

Bell said that on Friday, Nov. 16, the football team had a lock-in sleepover at the high school, and the reported incidents occurred at about 5 the next morning. The perpetrators and victims of the hazing were all minors, he said.

There were multiple incidents that occurred that night, said Bell, but he offered no details.

More than 10 members of Dexter’s football team were suspended from school for between one and 10 days, depending on the level of involvement, he said. Some of the students also were suspended for a month or more from athletics programs.

“In this day and this age, hazing is just not tolerated,” said Bell.

AOS 94 Superintendent Kevin Jordan did not immediately return a phone message seeking comment Monday evening.

Dexter police Sgt. Alan Grinnell said the incident is actively being investigated.

“Possible criminal charges are pending,” said Grinnell, who also declined to give details.

Video from the school’s surveillance system recorded some of the incidents, said Bell.

Darrel Cronkhite of Corinth, a 1990 graduate from Dexter Regional High School, said he heard details about the incident from friends who work at the school.

“What happened was the freshmen were chased down by upperclassmen and were held down against their will and beaten with plastic hockey sticks and Wiffle ball bats to the point of drawing blood,” said Cronkhite. “There’s no excuse for that.”

Cronkhite said the team’s coaches may not have known what was happening.

No decisions have yet been made about whether any coaches on the team will be disciplined, said Bell.

“It’s just an embarrassing situation for the program and it’s an unfortunate situation for the school and town,” he said. “You never want to see this happen to the kids. Those kids were put into a bad situation by some teammates.”

School administrators found out about the incident on Sunday, Nov. 18, and have been investigating it ever since, Bell said.

“These were good kids making bad decisions,” said Bell.

The Dexter football team was coming off its best season in more than two decades, finishing the regular season with a 6-2 record and advancing to the LTC Class C playoffs for just the second time since 1995 before bowing to defending conference champion Bucksport 28-27 in the quarterfinals.

BDN writer Ernie Clark contributed to this report.

http://bangordailynews.com/2012/11/26/news/penobscot/dexter-high-football-players-suspended-after-serious-hazing-incident-principal-says/ printed on October 25, 2014