4 players removed from Elk River football teamELK RIVER, Minn. (AP) — The Elk River school board voted Sunday night to kick four football players off the team and suspend five after a district investigation into hazing allegations.
ELK RIVER, Minn. (AP) — The Elk River school board voted Sunday night to kick four football players off the team and suspend five after a district investigation into hazing allegations.
Three of the suspended players will be out for four games and two will miss one game.
The board met in closed session for two hours before opening up the meeting and voting to take the actions. School officials cannot release the names of the players who were disciplined because of privacy laws.
The school district suspended its 54-player varsity program on Wednesday and notified police after a parent reported the hazing. The district hired a law firm to help with its investigation.
Police Chief Jeffrey Beahen has said some players reported being struck or poked by other players with a broom handle on their buttocks or legs. Beahen said police haven't found any players interested in pursuing criminal charges.
District Superintendent Mark Bezek said players will have to undergo sensitivity training.
"These are good kids, and they made a mistake," Bezek told the Star Tribune. "But it's a serious mistake."
Elk River school policy broadly defines hazing as any "act against a student, or coercing a student into committing an act, that creates a substantial risk of harm to a person, in order for the student to be initiated into or affiliated with a student organization, or for any other purpose."
The team's first game is Thursday, when Elk River hosts Becker. The Elks were 1-8 last season and haven't had a winning record since 2003.
Elk River is a town of about 22,000 people about 35 miles northwest of Minneapolis.