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L.I. Village Split Over Decision To Forfeit Game Over Hazing Allegations

Crackdown On Hazing Ongoing Since 2003 Mepham Incident Shocked Nation

SOUTHAMPTON, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Was it hazing or harmless locker room rough-housing?

Some students and parents in Southampton on Long Island are questioning whether the schools superintendent overreacted when he canceled the football team’s final game of the season.

As CBS 2’s Jennifer McLogan reported Friday, the decision to forfeit Southampton High School’s final game of the varsity football season has left many unsettled.

“We’re upset that because of their actions, of their stupidity, they did something that jeopardizes their future and our football team,” senior Corin Vasquez told McLogan.

Southampton Village Police confirmed they are investigating an incident in the locker room following practice last week.

The internal report states that two players, who have not been identified, forcibly held down a third player and rubbed against him in a sexual manner. All were fully clothed, McLogan reported.

“I know the kid, I feel bad for him. But I do feel for the victims and the people that did it, too, because they are my friends,” senior Chase Rao told McLogan.

Some said the incident may have defied moral and ethical standards.

“If they are going to do things in the bullying and hazing area, I think they should be punished whether it’s the last game of season or not,” Southampton resident Rene Gerson said.

But others think the call to forfeit the game was an overreaction.

“Disrupting the whole season is just a travesty for everyone. Everyone wasn’t involved with it,” Carl Bernard of Southampton said.

“As long as it’s not crossing a certain line, my view is I think hazing is just part of growing up,” former Southampton student-athlete Jared Begun told McLogan.

High schools on Long Island have led a crackdown on rough-housing since the 2003 Mepham High School football training camp hazing scandal rocked the nation.

In that case, new players at the North Bellmore school were sodomized by older players with broom handles.

While the Southampton incident can’t compare with what happened at Mepham High, the superintendent said, “We are proactively making sure that our locker rooms are safe and that all of our students are treated with dignity.”

The school district also announced that protocols for locker room supervision are under review. The district would not comment on the possibility of student or staff suspensions.

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