MEMPHIS, TN (abc24.com) - They were reportedly stripped naked, paddled, and doused in boiling water. Members of the White Station High School football team are accused of hazing freshman players. Memphis Police were also called to the school Thursday afternoon to handle multiple fights the students say are related to the hazing.
An MCS spokesman says the hazing happened during football camp. Some football players were suspended, Thursday’s practice was cancelled, and the team was forced to forfeit Friday’s night game against their big rival, Ridgeway High School. Students are angry, others were scared.
"I heard that 2 students were stripped down, they were paddled, and they got hot boiling water on them," said a White Station Freshman Bayley Whitehouse. “It kind of freaked me out because the football players are supposed to be known as the heroes of the school and now they're here hazing."
All eyes were on White Station High School. First, students found out the school is investigating the football team for hazing, then several fights broke out on school property. A student sent a picture to abc24.com showing a police officer handcuffing a student to the ground. Students say officers used pepper spray to stop the fight.
"The school is usually not like this," said an eleventh grader at the school, Joy Myers.
Students received a letter about zero tolerance when it comes to "bullying of any kind, including hazing by student athletes," and “counseling services will be provided to all students who witnessed or experienced the hazing.” As a result, the entire team is being held accountable and forfeiting Friday night's game against Ridgeway High School.
"I know a lot of people are upset about the game because the band has been practicing since the summer and this was their first game. They were looking forward to it too,” Myers said.
"That's our natural rival. The guys were excited about it and the seniors are really disappointed about it,” said Ridgefield High School Football Coach Duron Sutton.
Sutton is not surprised to hear about the hazing.
"We're in a little bit of a different world now where things like that use to be almost like a rite of passage that the older guys get to do with the younger guys but now you have to be more cognizant about it, there's more repercussions,” said the coach. “Hopefully it never happens under my watch."
Some students may be angry there won't be a game Friday night but others say it's a good punishment.
"That's scary, that's dangerous, and I wouldn't want anyone throwing hot water on my kids,” said a parent Gregory Jordan. His son is a senior at White Station High School.
"Yes, I think that was very appropriate (consequence) even though many people are really mad about it but it has to stop, it's not fun, it's not cool,” stated Whitehouse.
ABC24 News spoke with the White Station High School football coach on the phone. He says MCS is still trying to decide if his team will play next week. No word if the entire season will be cancelled.
Here is a statement ABC24 News received from MCS:
”MCS received complaints that several freshmen football players at White Station High School were hazed during a football camp. MCS immediately notified the Memphis Police Department and conducted an internal investigation which revealed that hazing had occurred. As a result of the findings, the District took appropriate disciplinary action against several students and against school personnel who were responsible for ensuring the safety of the students.
Additionally, since several White Station High School football players participated in the hazing, MCS has held the entire team accountable for the misconduct by requiring the team to forfeit tomorrow's game.
MCS has zero tolerance for hazing or any conduct which puts our students at risk. The District trusts that this substantial but necessary penalty deters future acts of hazing by students and/or student athletes.”