NORWALK, Ohio (WJW) – A hazing incident involving players on the Norwalk High School football team, during which a student was victimized by his own teammates, is creating an uproar in the Huron County community.
An investigation by Norwalk police revealed that on Aug. 8, the victim walked into the locker room at Norwalk High before practice.
According to the police report, two of his teammates grabbed him and held him on the floor. A third player “smacked him in the face” with an adult toy, and then “poked him in the buttocks” with the object.
Investigators say after speaking with the players, they discovered that one of them had recorded the hazing incident and shared the video on Snapchat.
The victim told police that he was fully dressed at the time and was not injured.
During a meeting of the Norwalk School Board on Tuesday, parents questioned board members about the incident and voiced their concerns.
“Somebody has to be accountable and it has to be from the top, and I’m not on some kind of witch hunt and I don’t think anybody else is either, but there has to be accountability,” said one parent.
After listening to questions about the incident and the lack of supervision by the Truckers coaching staff, Norwalk School Board Vice President Jeremy Norris told the audience, “I am disheartened and disgusted by what’s happened… I agree with you that there’s a problem with respect to the coaching staff because if the players respected the coaches, this would not be happening.”
Board member Alison Crawford added, “There is what happened to that boy in that locker room, let’s not forget that, and then there’s the fact that there should have been someone stopping it before it happened.”
The principal of Norwalk High told police that the primary offender, who is now 18 years old, has been suspended from school and could be expelled.
One of the other participants received a detention, but there is no word yet on what punishment the other students will face.
Huron County prosecutors will decide if any of the players will face criminal charges, but a number of parents say there is plenty of blame to go around for what happened.
“If only the students are being punished, it sends the wrong message,” said one parent.
During the school board meeting, parents also asked for a separate investigation of another incident that allegedly happened during a Norwalk football camp over the summer.