FOX 32 NEWS - A serious hazing situation involving the Lake Zurich High School football team has resulted in the suspension of the head football coach and another coach.
On Wednesday night, the school board addressed the situation at it’s first public meeting since the incident became public earlier this month.
Half a dozen parents spoke up and most were critical of how the district has handled the situation, and blamed them for the negative publicity that has resulted from reports of the hazing incident.
“This is your fault. If you would have been more transparent from the very beginning and not allow reporters to start coming and writing articles, if you would have been up front with parents, you could have avoided the bad reputation the entire high school has now, and all their athletic programs now have,” said one mother who spoke at the board meeting.
The hazing incident happened in a locker room after a team dinner before the football team’s playoff game on November 5th, which the team lost.
The District did not say exactly what happened, but in a letter to players and their parents, referred to what happened as egregious and said it was widespread, and so was the participation by players.
The letter went on to say discipline was warranted, but due to privacy regulations, further details were not provided.
Those who spoke publicly at the board meeting, including most who identified themselves as parents of football players, seemed more concerned with the team, school and community’s reputation being hurt than what happened. None asked what was being done to help the victims.
The parents also expressed frustration at a code of conduct letter that players and their parents were required to sign before the last football game in order to participate. That letter required the players to participate in hazing and bullying education.
“To punish these kids as a whole would not be fair to them until this investigation is complete,” said one mother.
“Some of them might have made some bad decisions, none of them deserve the treatment they are receiving now,” said another mother.
The incident was immediately reported to police and DCFS. The district has since hired an outside agency to investigate the situation and how it has handled it.
“We are taking a profound look in terms of what has happened in terms of our own responsibility. My intention is this investigation yields specific steps for us to take regarding how we do everything relating to supervising students, educating students and families, reporting incidents of behavior, misbehavior and implementing or improving our own policies,” said Kaine Osburn, District 95 Superintendent.
The Lake Zurich Police and the Lake County State’s Attorney’s office are investigating the incident.
Romanucci & Blandin, the law firm that won a one million dollar settlement stemming from a hazing case involving the soccer team at Maine West High School, said it is representing a victim in the Lake Zurich hazing situation.