A Central Bucks West hazing allegation has cancelled the remaining football season for the high school in Doylestown, Pa.
The hazing incident was reported to the police, according to New Jersey Online. David Weitzel, the Central Bucks School District Superintendent, announced on the the district website on Thursday that the team’s remaining two games was cancelled. He also announced that the coaching staffs for both the junior varsity programs had been suspended, noting “the failure of the coaching staff to properly supervise activities.”
The Central Bucks West hazing incident was addressed in a letter to all parents by Weitzel stating an investigation determined that new players on the team had been required to grab the private parts of other players, while fully clothed in front of the rest of the team. He said most of the players took part in the activity, which he called “offensive and disrespectful.”
The superintendent also faulted players who he said did not participate but witnessed the activities, and a coaching staff he said failed to supervise the teens. “Swift and firm action is absolutely necessary,” Weitzel said.
Former Central Bucks West head football coach Mike Pettine Sr., who is also the current head coach for the Cleveland Browns, made it perfectly clear on Thursday that he thinks current Bucks head coach Brian Hensel and his staff were not aware of any wrongdoing by his players, according to theintell.com.
“I know a lot of the coaches and they are good men … I’m confident that in no way shape or form that they condoned this or knew what was going on.”
The Central Bucks West hazing reports also caught the attention of local police chief James Donnelly, who said his office had launched an investigation into the Central Bucks West hazing report.
School officials notified police only Wednesday about the hazing claims, Donnelly said. The allegations included rumors of what students described as “waterboarding,” but what Donnelly said sounded more liked teens being placed under showers with towels over their heads.
He said he was concerned about the allegations in the superintendent’s letter.
“The letter was pretty damning and contains some pretty scary information … We don’t know if it was just kids horsing around or if it was more serious, but we’re going to investigate.”
Bucks County District Attorney David Heckler said in an interview that his office had been in contact with Donnelly about the allegations, and that county investigators “will certainly provide assistance” if Donnelly requested it.
The Central Bucks West hazing claims emerged just a few days after a Sayreville, N.J., high school also shut down its football program and suspended the coach and his assistants over claims of player hazing. That case has led to the arrest of seven players.
The Central Bucks West team, nicknamed the Bucks, had a 2-6 record this season, a down year for a storied program. Head coach Brian Hensel did not respond to a phone call and e-mail seeking comment. Hensel, a chemistry teacher at the high school, is in his sixth season leading the team.
Despite the Central Bucks West hazing incidents, the high school has a storied football tradition. It won four state championships in the 1990s, Philadelphia Magazine notes. Though the team has not been as good since the school district split again in 2005 and Central Bucks South opened, it still draws crowds and has been viewed as a strong program.