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BREAKING NEWS: Redbank Releases Statement on Hazing Incidents Involving Football Program

NEW BETHLEHEM, Pa. (EYT/D9) — The Redbank Valley football team will host Brockway on Friday night but who will dress for the Bulldogs? That’s still unknown.

Redbank Valley superintendent of schools Amy Rupp issued this statement on the district’s website on Thursday:

Dear Redbank Valley School District Community:

Recently, the District learned of allegations of hazing involving three members of the varsity football team, which occurred on October 4th and October 11th. I’m writing to provide information and updates about Redbank Valley School District’s investigation into these hazing incidents. These incidents are disturbing and upsetting, and we understand both the desire for more information and a call for action. At the same time, during an active investigation, the district must follow state and federal laws, district policy, and maintain confidentiality and student privacy.

As soon as the players involved in the hazing were identified they were suspended from the football team pending the outcome of the investigation and the completion of the student discipline process. Behavior involving hazing, taunting, or actions causing extreme embarrassment such as the actions that took place simply will not be tolerated.

The investigation was completed on October 18th. The District confirmed that hazing did, in fact, occur. Upon investigation, the District determined that the hazing that occurred did not result in physical injury. Three players were disciplined, one coach was removed, and the head coach and coaching staff were given a firm directive to maintain a heightened awareness, as well as to affirmatively address and report any possibility or suggestion of
hazing behavior.

To be clear, Redbank Valley School District will not tolerate hazing, is committed to investigating all reported incidents of hazing, and will be actively engaged in pursuing discipline for any students or adults responsible for violating our policies. Please be assured that the district has complied with district policy throughout this investigation. We will not be communicating further on student or adult discipline related to these incidents.

We will do all we can to move forward in a positive manner. This includes finishing the football seasons for both the JV and Varsity programs. If any games are canceled moving forward, it is a coaching decision, and questions should be directed accordingly.

Last week, Redbank was without 10 players in an 8-7 loss at Port Allegany — three for the hazing incident(s) and seven other for undisclosed reasons.

Two key starters did not play for the Bulldogs against Port Allegany.

Senior quarterback Cam Wagner, who is having an outstanding campaign with 1,724 passing yards and 28 touchdowns, and wide receiver/defensive back Ashton Kahle, who has 21 receptions for 397 yards and nine TDs, were out.

Freshman Braylon Wagner started at quarterback for the Bulldogs against the Gators. Redbank Valley played well against one-loss Port Allegany despite the absence of those 10 players.

Bulldog coach Blane Gold said last week that he and his staff learned they would be without them late Thursday evening.

Redbank Valley led 7-0 late in the game before the Gators drove for a touchdown and the go-ahead 2-point conversion to hand the Bulldogs their first loss.

“It was very, very emotionally draining,” Gold said after the game on Friday night. “I’m just proud of the effort they showed. … I’m extremely proud of them for not blinking in the face of adversity.”

As for the other seven players who did not dress, the district has not released a statement addressing why they did not play.

Athletic director Matt Darr did comment on the players’ absence in a text message.

“There are several reasons as to why kids don’t dress for sporting events, including medical conditions, academic eligibility and disciplinary actions from either the district or the team,” Darr wrote. “Due to confidentiality, the Redbank athletic department can’t discuss any players who may fall into one of those categories mentioned above. This might sound like a templated answer but it is not. This is my policy as an athletic director.”