21 Football Players Suspended For Hazing At A Chino Hills High School
Twenty-one members of Chino Hills' Ruben S. Ayala High School football team have been suspended by school officials after reports of a suspected hazing incident occurred when the team played an out-of-state game at St. George, Utah last week.
There have been no details of what actually occurred in the team hotel last weekend, as it is still currently under a school investigation. The Chino Hills School Resource Officer found no evidence a crime occurred when conducting interviews just days after the incident was reported. Regardless, the school moved forward with suspending the students for five days. "The safety of our students is of primary concern. As a district, we have zero tolerance for hazing or bullying of any sort," district spokeswoman Julie Gobin told the Daily Bulletin.
A suspended player who spoke with NBC 4 said that the incident was not actually hazing and just "horsing around." Another student said one of his friends was a victim of the alleged hazing incident, and added, "I hope that the embarrassment for him will eventually go away. I just hope all the bullying will stop."
Supporters of the football team think the district is being too hasty with the suspensions without concluding the investigation, and say that many of the students punished weren't even involved in the incident. The hashtag "#FreeTheBulldogs" has popped up on social media in support of the players and an online petition going by that name has since been started on Change.org and gotten over 60 online signatures. A student by the name of "Courtney" started the petition on Thursday and says that those that are innocent will have their future football careers hurt by association. "I don't want to see that happen," she said.
"Assumptions were made and they paid the price for a few who truly were involved in behavior unacceptable in our school," reads the petition. "A punishment of this level should not be taken lightly and implemented unless a thorough investigation is complete and evidence showing no doubt about who and wasn't involved in the unfortunate situation in Utah."