HAVERHILL, Mass. — The Haverhill High School football season has come to an abrupt end as police and school officials investigate an alleged act of hazing.
In a statement, Haverhill Public Schools said they are canceling all future practices and forfeiting future games, including Thanksgiving, after a leaked video shows alleged members of the football team hazing and sexually harassing a young man.
Haverhill police confirmed to Boston 25 that they are investigating a video that appears to show three young men, one wearing a Haverhill football shirt, dragging another individual across a floor and pulling his clothes off.
A fourth individual, only wearing underwear shorts, stands over the victim’s head and twerks into the victim’s face for 10 seconds while the others scream and cheer.
Additionally, members of the coaching staff have been placed on administrative leave during the investigation.
“Haverhill Public Schools will not tolerate hazing, harassment, or retaliation in any form. Any such misconduct will be responded to swiftly and it will undoubtedly have lasting repercussions for all of those involved,” the school system stated.
In a statement, Haverhill Mayor James J. Fiorentini called the incident “disgusting” and called for the players involved to be permanently removed from the team.
“The boys involved in this disgusting incident should be immediately permanently removed from the team,” Fiorentini said. “Parents deserve to know when they send their kids to play high school sports that their children will be safe.”
Under Massachusetts law, hazing is described as “any conduct or method of initiation into any student organization, whether on public or private property, which wilfully or recklessly endangers the physical or mental health of any student or other person.”
Haverhill Public Schools also stated they are prohibited from revealing any further specific information related to the investigation.
Violations are punishable by fines of up to three thousand dollars or a year in jail.
According to the Haverhill High athletics website, the team’s next game was scheduled to be at home against Lowell on Thanksgiving.
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