Elk River High School punishes nine for hazing

Nine players on the Elk River High School football team have been punished after a wide-ranging investigation into a hazing incident we wrote about last week. Four of them have been booted from the team permanently.

The move came after the local school board shut down the high school's football program last week. Some players had complained about a locker room ritual in which teammates jabbed broom and mop handles into their backsides.

The abuse allegations were serious enough that the board brought in an independent law firm to investigate. The local police are also looking into whether any laws were broken, including by the coaches.

The board announced the punishments on Sunday after an unusual closed-door meeting. Along with the four dismissals, five players received suspensions.

While the board deliberated inside, some players who gathered said the abuse of teammates was no big deal, just a matter of boys being boys. And they said the punishment would devastate the team, which hasn't had a winning season since 2003.

We may learn today whether the suspended football program may resume practicing ahead of Thursday's home opener against Becker.

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