NORTH SMITHFIELD, R.I. (WPRI) — The investigation continues into serious hazing allegations involving the North Smithfield High School football team.
Superintendent Michael St. Jean said the district recently learned of potential hazing that took place last year and may have involved players on the team.
“Given the nature of the allegations, and the possibility that the members of the football team violated our student safety policies, we made the decision to suspend all pre-season activities until further notice,” St. Jean explained.
St. Jean said the district, alongside the North Smithfield Police Department, Rhode Island Attorney General’s Office and the Department of Children, Youth and Families (DCYF), are actively investigating.
The details of the allegation have not been made public, though St. Jean has repeatedly described them as serious.
“We do not yet know how many football team players may have been involved which is why we’re erring on the side of caution,” he said of the district’s decision to suspend all team activities. “This was a difficult decision, but it was made with the safety of students as our top priority.”
The North Smithfield School Committee held a special meeting Thursday night where St. Jean addressed the allegations.
“I know that this is a difficult situation and our parents and students want more information, but at this time we must allow law enforcement to do their jobs,” St. Jean said.
St. Jean said the district plans on updating its policies and protocols to better address this kind of conduct in the near future.
Anyone with information pertinent to the investigation is asked to contact North Smithfield Detective Gregory Chito at (401) 762-1212 ext. 225.