OVIEDO, Fla. — When the Oviedo High School football team takes the field Friday against Spruce Creek for its final game of the regular season, it will be without three of its players after they were suspended following accusations of inappropriate behavior in the locker room.
Over the past week, Channel 9 reporter Jeff Levkulich spoke with the families of four football players who claimed their children had either heard of or experienced abuse in the locker room.
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"I got all my clothes on. I had my phone and was facing the locker, and I had a junior come up to me. He put his forearm up against my back, and then he took his other hand and used his hand to stick his finger up my butt," the football player said.
He said he hopes by speaking out, things will finally change.
The story is similar to one Channel 9 reported last year. Oviedo police deemed it "locker room shenanigans." One student was charged, but the state attorney decided not to prosecute.
Players told Channel 9 the behavior was referred to in the locker room as "code red."
"They feel it's a hostile environment there," he said.
"There has been a lot of bullying, a lot of hazing, a lot of physical fighting amongst the players," the mother told Channel 9. "The players (are) fighting on the field during practice and fighting in the locker room and that is unacceptable behavior."
After several days of Channel 9 reporting on the alleged abuse, the superintendent has requested the district open an investigation at the school into the matter of unwanted touching. Claims of bullying and hazing may also be a part of the investigation.
The father of one of the players accused of unwanted touching inside the locker room says his son was "blindsided" by allegations.
"My son is not that kid that would have done this to anyone, and I think they are going to come up empty-handed with whatever they are trying to find," said the dad.
The man's son and two other players were given in-school suspensions and will also miss the final game of the season.
"Three of the best kids on the team," said the father. "I believe with 100 percent certainty in my own head that this is a school trying to placate a frenzied media and social media that just want action, so they are giving action."
Oviedo police said a second victim came forward Thursday, but his parents did not want to pursue any charges.
The school district is asking parents to contact the superintendent's office or the school board directly with their complaints if they don't feel comfortable dealing with officials at the school.
If you know of someone being abused at a Florida school, you can report it here and here.
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