DEXTER, Maine — Disciplinary action is expected to be taken against the two football coaches who were chaperoning an overnight event at Dexter Regional High School last month at which several hazing incidents occurred, according to SAD 46 Superintendent Kevin Jordan.
However, exactly what action will be taken by the school district is unclear.
“At this point, [nothing has been done to the coaches],” Jordan said Wednesday. “We feel it’s important that the two coaches are involved in the community service.”
The entire football team was required to perform community service in response to the hazing incidents.
The football team had an overnight gathering on Nov. 16 and 17 at the high school, where five incidents of hazing occurred, according to Jordan. The first took place at 4:30 p.m. Nov. 16, while the other four happened between 4:30 and 5:15 a.m. Nov. 17. Three of the five reported hazing incidents were caught on the school’s video surveillance system.
Two coaches were chaperoning the event during the hazing incidents on Nov. 16-17 — head coach Kevin Armstrong and assistant coach Matthew Hubbell, according to Jordan. Other coaches chaperoned the event that night but were sent home before the four incidents occurred on Nov. 17, said Jordan.
As a result of the overnight gathering, 12 players on the football team were suspended from school for hazing underclassmen on the team. The perpetrators and victims were all minors.
Four students were suspended from school for 10 days, two were suspended seven days and six were suspended for one day, Jordan said. The students also are barred from participating in competitive after-school events for periods ranging from one week to one month, depending on involvement.
Three of the alleged perpetrators were charged with Class D assault, a misdemeanor, by the Dexter Police Department. They were not named by police because they are minors.
Dexter Police Chief Kevin Wintle said Wednesday that no charges are expected to be lodged against the two coaches.
Neither Armstrong nor Hubbell could be reached for comment Wednesday evening.
Jordan said extracurricular appointments are chosen every spring.
“Extracurricular contracts in Maine are all one-year contracts,” said Jordan. “Every coach would need to be recommended by the principal, and then the superintendent and then to the board to be reappointed.”
There are many possible actions that could be taken against the coaches, he said.
“It could be a whole range of things from nothing to not bringing them up for renewal for their job for next year,” said Jordan. “It will not be nothing, but there will be something done. I’ve had many discussions and, frankly, our decision-making is somewhat based on the response and the working through the community service piece with the team.”
Many of the players have started or completed their community service, said Dexter Regional High School Principal Steve Bell.
Players who were suspended from school for 10 days each must perform eight hours of community service, said Bell. Those who were suspended for seven days must do four hours of community service. The entire team was required to take part in some community service.
Coaches Armstrong and Hubbell also are taking part in the community service, according to Jordan.
“I believe many of [the coaches on the team are] involved [in the community service],” said Jordan. “The only two that are asked to head it up are the ones that were there.”
Bell said two organizations benefited from the football team’s service.
The New Hope Baptist Church and the Wassookeag Snowmobile Club were selected for community service.
“We traditionally run a lot of community service through [the church],” said Bell. “They’re very good about taking kids in. They likely had them working the food cupboard, cleaning the parking lot or painting. There’s plenty for them to do.”
Bell said some students were very motivated to get the community service done because it is required before they could compete on a sports team. Several of the suspended players are now on the wrestling and basketball teams.
“Some of the kids trying to pursue athletics had more motivation to get it done quickly,” said Bell. “We will stay on them. It’s very much a part of their expectation.”