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By Jasmine Huda
(KSDK) – A high school hazing incident has outraged residents in the small town of Virden, Illinois. Parents argue the district is not taking the matter seriously.
The incident in question took place September 19. The school’s athletic director said four senior football players ganged up on two freshmen in the locker room, and hazed them.
The district would not release any details about what happened, only to say it was serious in nature.
School district leaders learned of the incident from a third party the following day. After all four students admitted to the incident, they were suspended.
Monday night, the School Board held a disciplinary hearing and expelled one of the students, who officials say played a larger role in the hazing.
Parents say they expect more of the district. Parents, including those of students who witnessed the hazing, say the incident was sexual in nature. Virden school officials will not confirm or deny the allegations.
One parent said his son was in the locker room when the hazing took place. “The just told me things that they had never seen before,” Brent Williams said. “And they were very, very uncomfortable. Really troubled by it.”
The mother of one of the victims, who wishes to remain anonymous, said her son was not physically harmed, but that he remains emotionally scarred from the incident. The mother and other parents want police to open an investigation.
The school district has the option of handling the matter internally. “We told parents that was an option they had, to press charges,” Virden Athletic Director Bruce Paisley said.
VIrden’s police chief said his department will not investigate until a report is filed. The report, he said, must come from someone directly involved in the incident.
But parents say any complaint involving a crime of a sexual nature should be not be taken lightly.
“It’s not just these two kids. All of these kids are ours. We’re supposed to protect them. If we can’t protect them, who is? Don’t trust school to protect our kids,” Kim Armour, a parent said.
Armour filed a report Monday afternoon. Virden Police would not confirm Monday night whether it will in fact investigate.
In response to criticism that all four students should be expelled, Paisley said he believes the district acted appropriately.
Monday night, parents said they were especially upset to learn the students who weren’t expelled remain on the football team.
Meanwhile, other parents side with the district’s handling of the incident. Many parents, who declined to identify themselves, said the punishment was appropriate.
The Virden School District said it will enact measures to ensure a similar incident does not happen again, Paisley said.