I-Team: Needham Soccer Players Suspended In Hazing Probe
NEEDHAM (CBS) – A Norfolk Superior Judge has upheld the suspensions of five girls on Needham High School's soccer team who allegedly hazed younger teammates.
The parents of the five students went to court Monday to fight the suspensions, but Judge Barbara Dortch-Okara denied the injuction Tuesday morning, ruling "the plaintiffs have not shown a likelihood of success on the merits at trial."
The parents sought an injunction against the school principal basically saying he can't suspend their kids and prevent them from playing.
In her ruling, the judge wrote, "As students have no entitlement to participate in high school sports, there is no due process violation in any exclusion from participation in such activities."
Needham is scheduled to play Brockton in the state tournament Tuesday evening.
WBZ-TV's I-Team broke the story Monday night, also revealing that the coach has been placed on leave.
"We are very saddened by the inappropriate conduct that we have learned about through an investigation," Needham High School principal Jonathan Pizzi told WBZ-TV.
The I-Team has learned four seniors and one freshman were suspended for hazing at least two freshmen girls on the team.
The school is investigating allegations that the freshman girls were pulled on dog leashes while blindfolded and then hit in the face with pies - one so hard her nose bled.
Sources tell the I-Team the leashes left marks on their necks.
Original I-Team report on Needham hazing investigation
"I am very saddened by it and I am very concerned about it in terms of student safety and student character," Pizzi said.
WBZ has confirmed the coach's daughter is one of the girls suspended.
The coach, Carl Tarabelli, has been placed on leave. He apparently knew of the incident which happened eleven days ago.
Pizzi says "it is clearly conduct that is inconsistent with the schools beliefs, the school core values, and inconsistent with MIAA rules, the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association rules, and we want to address this in a very clear way."
Read: MIAA Rules On Hazing (.pdf)
Students at the high school were just learning of the suspensions Monday.
One student told the I-Team "I am just aware that it happened and that is about it."
Another female student told the I-Team "I have just heard that the girls are upset about it but they are not saying much about it."
The Needham police chief told the I-Team he is aware of the incident. However, he says he is not planning on doing anything at all until the school administration has finished its investigation.
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