Brunswick High School canceled its homecoming football game Friday night against Lawrence High of Fairfield because of an ongoing investigation into allegations of hazing, bullying and harassment among team players, Superintendent Phil Potenziano announced.

“Homecoming Weekend feels different this year in light of the recent allegations of hazing, bullying, and harassment that occurred at the football team retreat,” Potenziano wrote in a letter to the school community. “As I have shared with the community, we are thoroughly investigating these allegations to ascertain the facts and will take any and all appropriate steps to address all substantiated allegations. However, in light of this ongoing investigation, the administrative team and I have met and determined that we will cancel this evening’s BHS v. Lawrence High School varsity football game.”

Potenziano said in the letter that the decision was one that “no school system wants to have to make.”

However, due to the seriousness of the alleged violations of school rules, Potenziano wrote that the department “felt that this was the right decision.”

Although details of the investigation are unclear, Potenziano stated in a prior letter the alleged incident took place during a team retreat at Thompson’s Point in August.

Brunswick football coach Dan Cooper said he was informed around 12:30 p.m. Friday that the game was canceled.

“It came to me from the superintendent,”  he said. “It’s unfortunate, I feel sad for the kids.”

The investigation is being led by attorney Allen Kropp of the Portland firm Drummond Woodsum.

In an email to The Times Record on Friday, Potenziano added that additional information he was made aware of on Thursday gave him “no choice but to act and cancel” the game.  The investigation is currently in the stage of interviewing coaches, staff, and students, Potenziano said, and when he can share more information he will.

“In a year that continues to be plagued by COVID-19, and as we try to regain a sense of normalcy, I recognize the implications my decision has on students,” Potenziano wrote. “However, the fact is we have a zero-tolerance policy for hazing, bullying behavior, and harassment. I will not allow such behaviors to occur in our schools or during any school-sanctioned activities — it is not acceptable.”

All other homecoming games will continue as scheduled this weekend.

While Brunswick police are aware of the situation, as of Friday the department was not actively participating in the investigation.

 


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