MCDOWELL COUNTY, NC (WBTV) - Two teenage players have been kicked off their high school football team after investigators say they hazed a first-year player and injured him in the process.
According to the McDowell County Sheriff's Office, the students, all 15 years old, were all members of the McDowell High School JV team.
Investigators say on August 19, two teens poked a third teen in his buttocks "with a broom handle, which caused bruising to his rectum."
The incident, which investigators are calling a "hazing", happened in the boys' locker room of the high school.
The incident was initially reported to MHS principal Edwin Spivey, who immediately called Superintendent Mark Garrett and local law enforcement, according to school officials.
The teens were charged with misdemeanor assault with a deadly weapon and misdemeanor hazing.
One of the teens was also charged with felony obstruction of justice after he made attempts to cover up the truth, investigators said.
School spokesman Brian Oliver said both students were both kicked off the team as a result of the investigation. The teens are also receiving school consequences in accordance with state and local Board policy. School officials were waiting for deputies to complete their investigation.
Investigators said returning team members' hazing of first-year players has been ongoing for at least a couple of years.
"In most cases, the teens were poked on their buttocks with a broom handle, but in this case the hazing turned to injury," officials said. "Multiple team members knew about the hazing. Some participated and some did not."
School officials say they haven't heard of any past incidents of hazing, but say the superintendent and principal will investigate this incident and any accusations of past incidents.
"There is no place for hazing in our schools, and any alleged incident will be investigated to the fullest extent possible," Garrett. "While we truly regret such an inappropriate incident, I am very proud of the student who had the courage to come forward. We encourage anyone with knowledge of a hazing related incident to please notify a school official."