Marion County Director of Schools Dr. Mark Griffith announced Thursday that a pair of Whitwell High School football players had been expelled from the district pending a Disciplinary Hearing Authority (DHA) hearing for their involvement in a hazing incident which unfolded in the school’s locker room.
As reported by the Tennessee ABC affiliate WTVC and the Chattanooga Times Free Press, the two upperclassmen students in question are juniors. Per WTVC’s reporting, the two juniors attacked a freshman with a belt, whipping him across the back. The freshman player then traveled home and told his parents about the incident. He was reportedly taken to the hospital and the incident was reported to the Whitwell football coach, Randall Boldin, late Wednesday night after he had already retreated to bed for the night.
The coach immediately reported the incident to school administrators early Thursday morning in accordance with school policy.
“The two gentlemen who carried out these acts were expelled today,” Griffith told the Times Free Press. “Their fate will be determined by a disciplinary hearing in the coming days. State law says we’ll have 10 days to schedule that. It’ll probably be sooner rather than later.”
Both the Times Free Press and WTVC reported that the Department of Children’s Services is involved in an investigation into the incident, as is a school resource officer.
The alleged hazing incident comes at an unfortunate time for Whitwell, which is in the midst of the best start to a high school football season in school history; the Tigers are currently 6-0 and racing toward a playoff spot. That surge will suddenly have to deal with a speed bump from both lost talent and disrupted team chemistry as a result of the still unfolding incident.