Dedham Public Schools officials are investigating a report of an alleged hazing incident involving students in the school district, the superintendent said today.
In a statement, Superintendent June M. Doe said an investigation is ongoing, though she did not identify the school or the students in question, nor did she provide any details about the allegation.
“It is painful to report that the investigation has produced information for school administrators to conclude that there was a violation of the polices” against bullying and hazing, Doe wrote. “The Dedham Public Schools take appropriate actions in accordance with district policies and state laws.”
Doe said federal and state law prohibits officials from disclosing disciplinary actions taken against students. She said department policies permit a range of actions in such cases, including suspension and expulsion.
A staff member in Doe’s office said the superintendent would not comment beyond the statement today.
Yesterday, the Dedham Transcript newspaper reported that the alleged hazing occurred last week in a locker room and involved members of the Dedham High School football team.
“I got a phone call from one of the boys who said, ‘Coach, I’m suspended. There was a thing that went on,’” David Flynn, the head coach, told the newspaper. “He didn’t think he did anything wrong. He was just playing, celebrating a victory with the freshmen. That’s what he said.”
Flynn declined to comment today.
James Sheehan, a senior on the team, said today on the school campus that Flynn has not briefed the entire squad about the incident.
“We as a team have no comment [other than] we’re still going to beat Norwood and Natick,” Sheehan said. “That’s our focus.”
Darchelle Petion,16, a junior who plays on the basketball team, described the football players as “just normal guys.”
“They’re all saying that they didn’t think they would get in trouble [and] that it was no big deal,” Petion said. She added that administrators and coaches warn athletes that hazing, drug use and other infractions can carry stiff penalties.
“They definitely tell us that we are never to do that sort of stuff,” Petion said.
A spokesman for the Norfolk district attorney’s office referred questions to Dedham police tonight. A police spokesman could not immediately be reached for comment.