Cromwell High football football coach placed on leave amid hazing probe
By WFSB Staff
The Cromwell High School football team is at the center of a hazing investigation. (WFSB photo)
CROMWELL, CT (WFSB) -
Cromwell High School’s football coach is on leave while officials probe hazing allegations.
Coach Chris Eckert has been placed on paid administrative leave, according to school sources.
In the meantime, the team, which also consists of Portland High School students, prepares for its first game of the season.
School officials from both Cromwell and Portland are not releasing many details about the investigation. However, they did say that they’re taking it very seriously.
"As a school district, we don't tolerate, and never tolerate any kind of harassment towards our students, so should the outcome of the investigation yield information that points to students being mistreated in any way, we will take appropriate action," said Cromwell Superintendent of Schools Paula Talty.
She said the investigation started on the first day of school, one week ago, after a parent filed a police complaint.
""Students are being interviewed as well as adults who may have been involved," Talty said, adding that the season is progressing.
They alerted parents that the schools, police departments and state Department of Children and Families are looking into it.
"I think it is really upsetting that kids at our school were being hazed especially because Cromwell's such a loving place,” said Theresa Quinn, a Cromwell High School student.
Multiple students and parents told Eyewitness News that the incident happened in a locker room. Sources said the lights were turned off and an upperclassmen hit freshmen with a belt.
In a letter to parents, Portland’s superintendent said the allegations involved several underclassmen from both schools.
The students Eyewitness News spoke with had mixed reactions to the allegations. Some said they were overblown while others said they felt they were being handled the right way.
“Overall, these kids are good kids,” said McKenzie Karstetter, a Cromwell High School student. “In a moment of weakness their high school career is ruined almost."
"Even if people want to say ‘oh it's not this extreme, it has been blown out of proportion’ still, something of this nature has to be taken seriously,” said Justin Risley, also a Cromwell High School student.
There’s no word on if anyone has been disciplined.
Cromwell’s superintendent said as a district, it will not tolerate harassment.
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