VIERA, Fla. – The Brevard County Sheriff’s Office announced on Monday it is conducting a criminal investigation into the hazing incident involving the Viera High School football team.
In a social media post on Monday afternoon, the agency outlines its plans to “fully investigate this incident.”
“Currently our agency is conducting a complete and thorough criminal investigation into the incident by interviewing all parties involved and collecting evidence and statements from those with immediate knowledge of what occurred,” the sheriff’s office post read in part. “Once all of the facts have been collected and the case is finalized, it will be forwarded to the Brevard County State Attorney’s Office for review and a filing decision regarding any criminal actions that occurred!!”
Deputies said most of the incident was recorded on video by one of the team members and was later posted to social media.
According to the sheriff’s office, the hazing possibly occurred on Aug. 14, but the school administration did not learn of the incident until late on Aug. 16.
After learning about the incident, deputies said the school administration immediately contacted their assigned school resource deputy, as well as district school security, to report the incident to law enforcement.
On Sunday, Brevard County Superintendent Dr. Mark Rendell said Shane Staples, the head coach of the Viera High School football team, had been relieved of his coaching duties and all varsity and junior varsity team activities have been suspended amid their investigation into the reported hazing.
Rendell said Staples is still teaching gym class at the school.
Moving forward, Rendell said 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 want to be able to move forward with the season, but we’re not going to move forward with the season until the conditions are proper,” Rendell said after a meeting with families Monday night.
He also said a decision on the future of the football season and player suspensions will be made soon.
“Everybody’s part of a program,” School Board Chair Matt Susin said. “Everybody’s part of a culture, and until we can investigate all aspects that we make sure that this is not a culture that goes beyond just a football team. We have to hold them accountable.”
Parent Sean Denim attended Monday night’s meeting at the school.
“They’re saying that they’re not suspending football operations, but they want to reinstate as soon as they can and that they have to complete the investigation,” he said. “Really, there was no other information. It’s disappointing, and I have no comment on the video. My son was on the field at the time of the incident.”
Rendell also said a decision on the future of the football season and player suspensions will be made soon.
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