Team activities suspended following hazing incident with Viera High School football players

BREVARD COUNTY, Fla. — Brevard Public School officials said an investigation is underway into the actions of multiple Viera High School students.


5 p.m. Update:

BPS Superintendent Dr. Mark Rendell released a statement about how the district will proceed following a hazing incident among the Viera High School football team.

Rendell said the district decided Sunday to suspend all Viera High football team activities for varsity and junior varsity programs, and the varsity head coach has been relieved of his duties until further notice.

According to the superintendent, the players will have to take an anti-hazing course before the district will consider reinstating the program.

Rendell reminds the community that “hazing has no place” in Brevard Public Schools, and school officials will work with law enforcement to gather more information about the incident.

Read the full statement below:

Hazing, bullying, and intimidation have no place in Brevard Public Schools. We have spent the past several days investigating the hazing incident involving members of the Viera High football team. Today, we have made the decision to suspend all Viera High football team activities (varsity and junior varsity) until further notice and we have relieved the varsity head coach of his duties until further notice. In an effort to educate the team to the seriousness of this incident, all Viera High football players will be required to take part in an anti-hazing educational program before there is a possibility that the football program could be reinstated. We will also host a parent-player team meeting to begin the process of improving team culture and raising expectations. Per BPS procedure, the players suspended for their actions will not be permitted to attend the meeting. I am confident a decision on the future of this year’s football season and the suspended players will be made soon. With that said, it is important to remember that this investigation is not over; district security, law enforcement, and the school district are still collecting information. Again, hazing has no place in Brevard Public Schools, and we must always act in the best interest and safety of our students.

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A district spokesperson confirmed to Channel 9 Sunday that the investigation relates to a video posted on social media, involving some athletes acting inappropriately in what appears to be a locker room.

Channel 9 has chosen not to show the video at this time.

In a statement, the district said in part:

Our focus is to work with district security and school-based administrators to complete a thorough investigation in a timely manner.

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A message was also sent to Viera High School parents on Saturday, which said the school would follow the discipline policy, but could not disclose details regarding the incident or disciplinary actions.

Read the statement below:

Hello, Hawk Nation.

I wish the victories at the kickoff classic weren’t overshadowed by the speculation currently circulating within our school community. As I’ve said to you before, I believe in transparency with my parents and community but there are times when the information I can give is limited. Anytime students are involved, I must adhere to FERPA, (Federal Educational Right to Privacy Act), when speaking about an incident. This prohibits me from giving names, details, and outcomes of disciplinary action. I can tell you that there was an incident this week involving multiple students. Please rest assured that I am investigating the situation and following the discipline policy set forth by Brevard Public Schools. I know that we are all on the same page about keeping every student safe on and off campus and appreciate your continued support.

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Brevard School Board member Jennifer Jenkins posted a statement on Facebook Sunday about the incident, which reads:

After I learned yesterday about the incident at Viera HS I immediately contacted our Superintendent. This morning he assured me the district is taking this extremely seriously and had already began a full investigation into the timeline of the alleged incident and as to the potential of a culture that may have fostered this behavior.

There is no scenario in my mind where I feel it is appropriate this program continues this school year. Hazing should never and will never be tolerated. This message needs to be loud and clear to all athletes district wide.

We are working to find out more details about this incident and will provide updates as it becomes available.

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