Bridgewater-Raynham wrestlers used belts and broom handle to haze teammates, school superintendent says
Some members of the Bridgewater-Raynham Regional High School wrestling team hazed their teammates by hitting them with belts and a broom handle after what was considered poor performances during matches, the school superintendent said today.
School Superintendent Jacqueline B. Forbes confirmed in a telephone interview that the hazing involved “a small number of students.”
Forbes declined to specify how many, but said it was fewer than 10.
“The incidents that occurred involved teammates taking it upon themselves to discipline fellow teammates for poor performance,” said Forbes. “The discipline consisted of striking teammates who did not perform as expected with a belt or a broom handle.”
Forbes said that school officials have concluded their investigation into the allegations, but the incident continues to be under investigation by the Bridgewater police.
“The police investigation has been narrowed and is still ongoing,” Forbes said.
Forbes would not specify what disciplinary actions were being taken against students, but said “school district policies permit up to, and including, suspension.”
Bridgewater-Raynham’s varsity and junior varsity squads practiced last night for the first time since school officials suspended the season Jan. 14, after the allegations of hazing first surfaced and long-time head coach Jeff Francis was dismissed.
Francis, a 47-year-old alum of the school, confirmed by phone that he had been fired and was no longer a member of the coaching staff.
Francis lives in Raynham and has been coaching the school’s wrestling squad for 25 years – 18 years as assistant coach, seven as head coach.
In a series of interviews with the Globe, Francis described his dismissal as a “shock.”
Tomorrow, Bridgewater-Raynham will host a quad meet against Agawam High School, Longmeadow High School, and Minnechaug Regional High School.
Fred Conrad will be serving as interim head coach of the team, which posted a 7-3 record until the season was put on hold, according to school officials.
When asked if he would attend the meet, Francis said: “I honestly don’t know. We’ll see.”
An Alfred University study in 2000 found that 48 percent of high school students reported being subjected to some form of hazing, and estimated that 1.5 million high school students are hazed each year.
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