Elk River High School football team benched for hazing

The entire Elk River High School football program has been suspended until further notice while the school investigates a hazing incident so heinous that local police have been brought in to help get to the bottom of the matter.

This sounds like more than a matter of a few snapped jock straps, although the school won't detail the allegations. Officials say the hazing violated state high school sports league, seriously threatened a student's life, and may be part of a pattern that stretches back a couple of years.

Superintendent Mark Bezek announced his decision to shelve the program "until further notice" in a meeting with about 200 parents and students Wednesday night at the high school.

"I am shocked and dismayed by these allegations," Bezek told parents. "This isn't just kids fooling around. This has some very serious implications."

According to the school handbook, there's no tolerance for hazing of any kind as a rite of passage into any club, organization, or athletic team:

"Hazing means committing an act against a student or coercing a student into committing an act that creates a substantial risk or harm to a person in order for the student to be initiated into or affiliated with a student organization, or for any other purpose."

The heat is on. All 54 athletes were interviewed after the Wednesday complaint, and 15 have been called back for a second round of questioning.

There's no mention of the suspension on the team's booster page; the Elks were scheduled for a round of scrimmages this weekend.

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