I-TEAM: School district did not call child welfare workers following hazing incident at FB camp

BEREA, Ohio -- The I-TEAM is now investigating new questions about violent hazing at a camp for the Berea-Midpark high school football team.

We’ve uncovered cracks in the system to protect kids even though some players are facing felony sex charges.

Four players face charges tied to sex assaults of 11 victims. But, we’ve found school leaders did not call Cuyahoga County child welfare workers. The county said by law that should have been done.

This week, we approached Superintendent Tracy Wheeler asking why the school district had not called child welfare workers.

She said, “I don’t have an answer for you on that. We called Cleveland Police.”

The superintendent said she was not in charge of the district at the time of the hazing.

Later, the district sent a statement saying it only had to contact a “children’s services agency or a peace officer."

So why does it matter if the county gets involved in something like this? The county said social workers and professionals could then determine if the kids involved are safe and see if they need counseling or other help.

Recently, a parent of one victim spoke out to the I-TEAM.

After we told him no one had contacted child welfare workers, he said, “in my eyes, another failure. They’re more concerned about their reputation than the right thing to do.”

Meantime, the team is playing without the students facing charges and with more questions about the hazing.

We followed up asking the superintendent why the district wouldn't want another set of eyes reviewing what happened and she answered, “I can have a conversation with the people who were here when the event happened.”

A spokesperson for Cuyahoga County said child welfare workers do not expect to reach out to the district now since the criminal investigation is so far along, and the incident happened months ago.

But the county said what happened here makes this a good time for child welfare workers to remind all schools when they need to contact the county.

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