MIDDLETOWN, Pa. (WHTM) — A Pennsylvania school has canceled its 2022 football season due to widespread hazing among its football team.
According to a letter from Middletown Area School District Superintendent Chelton Hunter, the school district recently obtained video from a hazing incident involving students in a heat acclimation room. That video came on the heels of an investigation already underway due to a separate hazing incident.
“Unfortunately, this video demonstrates that this hazing was much more widespread, and involved many more students than we had previously known,” Hunter said in the statement.
The original video from August 11th showed students pinning down two players and poking them in the buttocks with two different objects on school property during a team practice.
The school has shared the video of the additional incident with law enforcement officials and will continue its own investigation as well. The students who have participated in the incident will be disciplined in accordance with the student code of conduct and hazing policy, according to the school district.
Hunter’s statement also explains that any staff member who was found to have ignored the hazing will also face discipline.
“The kind of hazing that occurred in our facilities with this team is reprehensible. It simply cannot and will not be tolerated,” Hunter said. “We know we must work to address the culture of this team, educate our student body about hazing, and put programs in place to help us ensure that this kind of atmosphere is never allowed to exist in our school facilities.”
Middletown Area School District says it will work to find other opportunities this fall for the cheerleading team and marching band, who are both impacted by this season’s cancellation.
“I know this decision will be met with many different opinions and emotions and will impact many students and families,” Hunter said.
In response to the Middletown news, a nearby school has already offered opportunities for the band and cheerleading teams to perform.
Middletown was set to kick off the 2022 football season on the road against Lower Dauphin School District. That team was unable to find an alternate opponent.