DEXTER, Maine — Twelve players of Dexter Regional High School’s football team have been suspended for an alleged hazing incident, but the role supervising adults played is still being investigated, according to AOS 94 Superintendent Kevin Jordan.
“We’re reviewing what the coaches’ and chaperones’ roles were in the whole incident,” Jordan said Tuesday. “I’m very concerned of what appears to be a lack of attention from the coaches. It’s an ongoing investigation.”
During an activity night for the football team at the high school on Friday, Nov. 16, several members of the team allegedly hazed younger teammates.
“There certainly was some paddling that took place,” said Jordan, adding that the perpetrators and victims of the hazing were all minors.
He said three of the five reported incidents were recorded by the school’s video surveillance system.
“It’s very obvious what happened. Those students have been disciplined,” said Jordan. “The other two incidents — the stories have been corroborated and matched. We’re confident we know what happened.”
Four of the 12 suspended students received 10-day suspensions, two got seven-day suspensions and the others received suspensions of a day or two.
The same students also received suspension from sports activities.
“Anywhere from a month down to a week,” he said.
The sports suspensions would start for any sports season in which the student would next participate. If a student planned to play a winter sport, he would serve his suspension then. If a student would not participate in a sport until next fall, that’s when his sports suspension would be served, explained Jordan.
The entire team will also be required to do some community service, he added.
Dexter police Sgt. Alan Grinnell said Tuesday that his investigation will likely continue into next week.
“Possible criminal charges are pending,” he said Monday.
The Nov. 16 activity night was supposed to be a fun event for the football players, said Jordan.
“Some were playing video games, some were playing basketball in the gym,” said Jordan. “But a small number of players decided to initiate the freshmen. I don’t believe anyone went into the night planning this type of activity.”
Jordan said it was natural to investigate the students’ roles in the hazing incident first. With that part of the investigation over, the focus has turned to the supervisors.
“It certainly raises the question — what were the chaperones doing?” Jordan asked.
Overnight activities are not uncommon at Dexter Regional High School, he said. The school has two or three of them a year for different school organizations.
“Typically when we’ve had these type of things, it’s very successful,” he said.
Jordan said the Key Club does a 30-hour famine fundraiser at the school, where members won’t eat for 30 hours in order to raise money for organizations.
“The culture of the overnight activity has been very positive up until this incident,” he said.
Because of the hazing, Jordan said he will have to look at banning future overnight activities at the school.
“I’m just really disappointed that it happened,” he said. “We will review some of our policies and we will review the activity nights we do.”