BRUNSWICK, Maine — Two Brunswick High School football coaches have been placed on leave following allegations of hazing among student-athletes.
Brunswick School District Superintendent Phil Potenziano told NEWS CENTER Maine he was made aware of new information in the ongoing investigation into hazing allegations on Thursday, Sept. 23. In turn, he said he canceled Friday's football game between Brunswick and Lawrence.
Potenziano said he also placed varsity head coach Dan Cooper and assistant coach Greg Nadeau on non-disciplinary administrative leave from their coaching responsibilities. He said he is unable to say anything further on the matter at this time as they are completing an investigation led by an outside attorney.
In an email, Potenziano said, "I want to reiterate that the critical thing for all of us to remember is that hazing in any form is intolerable. It is meant to cause harm, discomfort, embarrassment, humiliation, and degradation, and ridicule. I certainly do not want to create any additional harm by saying anything further, and I ask your understanding."
Brunswick Police said they have assigned a detective "to look into it to see if any violations of criminal law occurred," Chief Scott Stewart said in a statement.
Resources for support have been shared with parents and students. Potenziano shared those resources with NEWS CENTER Maine and they can be found HERE.
Lauri Sidelko, assistant dean of Student Life at the University of Maine said there are some main indicators of what hazing looks like. Generally, it is:
- negative acts or behaviors
- part of joining or maintaining membership in a group
- regardless of a person's willingness: even if the subject say yes to being involved, it can still be qualified as hazing.
Sidelko said the university, which is part of an anti-hazing consortium, teachers bystander intervention, to get people to speak up when they notice acts that might be considered hazing.
She said it is important to ask yourself "would other people generally think this is wrong? Will this build up our organization?" If the answer is no, people may want to re-think their activity.
She said there is a difference between college and high school students.
"I think the difference is the hands on. When you're in high school, the students are still living at home. They're still having a lot of contact with their teachers and coaches on a daily basis, so there are a lot of opportunities for intervention, a lot of opportunities to have conversations where you say, 'this is what hazing is, and this is what we will not tolerate,'" said Sidelko.
This story will be updated as NEWS CENTER Maine gathers and confirms more information.