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New Berlin officials admit hazing involving varsity football program

Posted: 10:56 AM, Sep 12, 2019
Updated: 2019-09-12 12:10:46-04
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NEW BERLIN —The School District of New Berlin acknowledged in a letter sent to families that hazing occurred among members of the New Berlin Eisenhower varsity football program.

School officials said the hazing occurred “off school grounds and without knowledge of any of our coaching or school staff.”

Superintendent Joe Garza said “student-athletes involved in these incidents will be held accountable.”

Here is the letter that was sent to families of the New Berlin Eisenhower football program Sept. 11:

Good evening Eisenhower football parents,

This is a follow-up to our email about the possible hazing taking place among the varsity football team members.

We received an anonymous tip over the weekend that prompted an immediate internal investigation by school administration. Over the last few days, we spoke with several players, coaches and parents. As a result of those interviews, we believe that hazing did occur.

We believe, based on the information provided to us, the hazing occurred off school grounds and without knowledge of any of our coaching or school staff.

It is important to note that prior to the start of the season, Activities and Athletics Director Kevin Fitzgerald proactively shared information with the team members - both in person and in writing - about team and school expectations, the co-curricular handbook, and specifically, hazing. It is unfortunate that not everyone took that messaging seriously, and we are shocked and disappointed that this happened.

Please know that the student-athletes who organized, conducted or allowed the hazing to occur are subject to the school, school district, and School Board policies prohibiting hazing and will be held accountable for their actions. The District, however, is prohibite from sharing student information with anyone other than those students’ parents or guardians.

We take these allegations seriously and we will continue to work with the student-athletes and coaches of all our teams, both this fall and throughout the school year, with the expectation that such behavior will not occur in the future.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to ask.

Sincerely,

Matthew Buckley, Principal

Kevin Fitzgerald, Activities and Athletics Director

Here is the statement from Superintendent Joe Garza:

We received an anonymous tip making us aware of possible hazing by members of the Eisenhower football program. We take allegations like this seriously, and therefore, we immediately conducted an internal investigation

Based on that investigation, we believe hazing did occur, off school grounds and without knowledge of any of our coaching or school staff. While we will not discuss specifics with the media, student-athletes involved in these incidents will be held accountable. We believe the investigation and actions taken by the District in response to these incidents will resonate with all our student-athletes and send a firm message that this behavior will not be tolerated in the School District of New Berlin.

- Superintendent Joe Garza