While AZCentral. com was chiding the Arizona Interscholastic Association about power points because San Carlos had to forfeit its football game last week, there was a significant and more disturbing part of this story that was not being reported.
In the middle of the power points brouhaha, everybody forgot to ask what the San Carlos players did to become ineligible. The Willcox Range News even reported that the reason for the forfeit was a 10-player team rule eligibility enforcement.
The answer was much more serious and involved an age-old custom designed to demonstrate one's superiority over an individual or group of individuals: hazing.
The incident invol-ved San Carlos High School football team members “pantsing” younger students.
Last year, in a nationally reported incident in Florida involving hazing, a band member of a school died as a result. Since then, hazing across the nation has been a hot topic in schools.
San Carlos hazing
Dr. Richard Wilde, superintendent for the San Carlos Unified School District, confirmed the incident as a hazing.
"I don't have the details but I can tell you I suspect that it was that traditional pantsing of the underclassmen," he said. "Pantsing" or de-pantsing is the pulling down of the pants.
"Nobody was physically injured, but you never know if there is emotional injury until after the fact. The intent was not to hurt, I am sure the intent was to embarrass," he said. "That becomes a psychological injury and not a physical injury."
"It happened the day before the game. We had that Friday off. We had enough evidence that we knew something had occurred. We just didn't have time to investigate," Wilde said. "Because we were getting parents’ concerns — parent complaints — we put the game on hold and then did the follow-up investigation.
"Some students were suspended from school for short-term suspension, for putting hands on other students," he said. "Some students were suspended for the remainder of the season pending appeal.
Wilde explained there were no criminal charges filed in relation to the hazing incident.
"Not from the school district. Obviously, when you put your hands on another person, that person can file charges," he said. "We don't know if the parents of the underclassmen will be filing charges."
"No students were injured. It's that hazing and, as we take a look at this in today's world, bullying of any kind is a very sensitive issue," Wilde said. "The State Legislature has recently passed a number of bills to schools overseeing and making a concentrated effort to reduce bullying.
"Some things that might have happened 20 years ago don't happen today because of that," Wilde said.
Dr. Wilde also clarified the number of students was not as large as previously reported.
"I don't think there were 10 students suspended. I don't know where that number came from. I have not gotten the official suspension documents yet from the secondary principal, but I believe there were only six students suspended from the team," he said.
"It was an incident from what I was told by one of the officers who is also a coach said that it was similar to a hazing incident," Bylas Police Chief Alejandro Bennaly said.
The incident led to the cancellation of the Willcox vs. San Carlos game. The chief went on to say that the police are not investigating it as a criminal activity. "I know they had conducted an internal administrative (investigation). As far as a criminal part, I do not know were we are at, but I will get a report later today," he said.
School resource officer Manuel Goode conducted the investigation and will forward his recommendations to Chief Bennaly.
"I know they are playing in Miami tonight, San Carlos is. (The incident) just shows that there are no barriers anywhere. It will happen anywhere in the country," he said.