Authorities are investigating allegations of hazing involving high school football players on the Cromwell team.
Portland Superintendent of Schools Philip O’Reilly said in a letter to parents that the allegations involve several underclassmen from both Portland and Cromwell, who may have been hazing targets.
While the team is based at Cromwell High School, students from the town of Portland play on the team because of a co-op agreement.
“As this investigation is ongoing, we are unable to provide specific information to the public at this time. However, I want to assure you that student safety is always our priority,” O’Reilly said.
Multiple parents told Eyewitness News that an incident happened in a locker room. Sources said lights were turned off and an upperclassman hit multiple freshman with a belt.
Students Eyewitness News spoke with said the allegations are disappointing but they don't all see eye-to-eye on what should happen next.
Some Cromwell students who spoke to Eyewitness News said they felt like the incident has been overblown, but others said they feel the district's reaction is perfect because the facts need to come out.
The investigation is underway by the Cromwell High School administration, Cromwell police and the Department of Children and Families.
O’Reilly added that the principal and athletic director have conducted their own investigation with the football athletes.
Parents and players have been contacted as well.
A letter from Cromwell Superintendent of Schools Paula Talty said:
As Superintendent, I was recently made aware of an incident involving some members of our High School Football team. We immediately contacted the proper authorities, who are in the process of investigating. Due to that investigation, I cannot speak to the details, but what I can say is that as a school district, we do not and will not tolerate harassment or any inappropriate conduct toward any of our students. Should we be notified, following this investigation that any student, has in fact been harassed, or has been wrongly treated in any way, appropriate action will be taken.
A letter from Portland Superintendent of Schools Philip O'Reilly said:
Dear Staff, (This also was sent to all parents/guardians),
You may hear that an allegation of hazing involving Cromwell High School football players is under investigation by the Cromwell High School administration, the Cromwell Police Department and the Department of Children and Families. The allegations do involve several underclassmen from both Portland and Cromwell who may have been hazing targets. As this investigation is ongoing, we are unable to provide specific information to the public at this time. However, I want to assure you that student safety is always our priority. Toward that end, Mrs. Lawson and Athletic Director, Chris Serra, have conducted their own investigation with our football athletes. In addition, all parents of our players have been personally contacted by Mrs. Lawson and apprised of the situation.
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