VIERA, Fla. - Viera High School will compete in football games this season. The district is lifting the suspension while continuing to monitor the team following an alleged hazing incident.
The program’s been under investigation and scrutinized following an alleged hazing incident recorded in the locker room with players of the football team. The district says, moving forward is the best decision which means Friday night lights are starting this week at Viera High School.
"It was not a culture that existed but rather a group of people that made an improper choice and did a heinous act, but the rest of the students that were not a part of it should not be held accountable for something they did not do," said Matt Susin, who’s the school board chair. He’s been optimistic the superintendent would start the season back up.
The football program was suspended, and players who were involved were disciplined. Also, all Viera high athletes are going through anti-hazing training.
"Not only the football team, but you had every one of the programs that were going to go through that," Susin added.
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The decision was celebrated by some on Monday morning when they heard the news.
"I guess everybody deserves a second opportunity," said Leonardo Solis who’s a student-athlete at Viera High School.
"That’s good for everybody. I think that – a lot of the seniors, that’s going to help their senior nights and all that, so that’s good," shared Nathan Forbes who’s also a Viera High School student.
"I can’t even imagine what my kids would go through if they would not be able to participate in marching band," exclaimed Michelle Tieri who’s a marching band parent. She says the start of the school year has been a rollercoaster for her two musicians.
The school board chair says he’s working with the sheriff’s department to see if criminal charges are possible against people who shared the video of kids on social media.
"We’re going to hold everybody that’s a part of this accountable, even those individuals that decided to share that video of minors that were inappropriately being shown in a sexual act," Susin said.
Tieri’s devastated at what she’s seen on social media.
"The attacks that the school, the kids, the football team, everybody’s been getting online – I just had to take a step back because there’s just so much vitriol out there against this community," she added. "It’s heartbreaking."
The district says, they will continue to monitor the football team and students hope hazing won’t continue in the future.
"Everybody just being respectful and everybody keeping their hands to themselves," Forbes concluded.
As for what’s next, the school board chair says the superintendent should be releasing public details from this investigation sometime this week.