Monday, October 21, 2019
US flag

Niles North suspends football over possible hazing

The football season at Niles North High School in near-north suburban Skokie, Illinois, has been suspended until further notice, as school officials and police investigate what is being described as a “possible hazing” incident, the Chicago Tribune reports.

Students arrive at Niles North H.S. (supafly / Flickr CC)

Although the investigation is ongoing and specific details of the incident remain confidential, officials did say it concerns only the varsity football team.

Niles North Principal James Edwards addressed families:

This note is to alert you to a possible hazing incident at Niles North High School. Following my note is a statement that District 219 will be issuing about this matter. I am sharing this information with you so that you are aware of it, because we have zero tolerance for hazing, bullying or other forms of harassment. Please feel free to share this information with your son or daughter.

Even though this will be a difficult time for our school, I believe that if we pull together and work to act upon the principle that we treat each other with the respect and dignity we all deserve, Niles North will become an even stronger school community.

District 219 Statement: Niles North Varsity Football Operations Suspended

Niles North High School has been made aware of allegations of a possible hazing incident involving the Varsity Football Team. Over the weekend, school officials took immediate action based on the reports received. The school immediately notified the Skokie Police Department, and Niles North is working in conjunction with Skokie Police during this investigation.

Because this is a matter under investigation, Niles North will suspend its Varsity Football operations until further notice.

“The safety and security of our students is our top priority,” said Niles North Principal James Edwards. “We have zero tolerance of hazing or even the threat of it. Because this is a matter that involves student confidentiality, we ask that our students and families be patient as the investigation unfolds.”

“I think there has been a lot of speculation and gossip,” the Tribune quoted a student as saying. “I think it’s a little obscene that it’s garnered this much media attention considering that it is right now under investigation. There have been no public reports on the nature of the incidents.”

Other students also had their doubts that any actual hazing had occurred.

“In my opinion, I don’t think it was really an act of hazing,” WLS-TV (ABC affiliate) quoted a recent graduate of the high school as saying. “I think it was just, like, my teammates being immature. I played with them last year. We goofed off a lot, I’m not going to lie. It’s just part of it. It’s part of high school, obviously.”

The suspension of the season will potentially have a negative impact on seniors who may have been hoping to win a football scholarship for college.

“Personally, I don’t think they should have suspended them,” one student was quoted as saying. “This is a very big moment in most seniors’ lives. I think they should have thought about it a little more before issuing a suspension.”

While some parents said they found it difficult to believe anyone on the football team would have engaged in hazing behavior, given the strong discouragement of it by coaches, others weren’t surprised at all by the claims. It “has happened in … other places, so why couldn’t it happen here?” one parent was quoted as saying.

Potential forfeits

The Niles North varsity football team has the following games scheduled:

  • September 29, 7 PM, Maine South
  • October 6, 7:30, at New Trier
  • October 13, 7:30, Niles West (homecoming)
  • October 20, 7:30, at Evanston Township
Paul Katula is the executive editor of the Voxitatis Research Foundation, which publishes this blog. For more information, see the About page.

Recent posts

High-payroll Yankees don’t make World Series

The World Series begins Tuesday, but some of the playoff games can teach us valuable things about youth sports, investment, etc.

Chicago teacher strike enters calendar week 2

Chicago teachers strike for the 3rd day Monday; the union wants smaller class sizes and support for paraprofessionals.

What happened after a coach disarmed a student

In Oregon last May, a high school coach saw a student carrying a gun and disarmed him. Now we know what happened next.

Fox Island disappears in the Chesapeake

An island that has provided some environmental education for many is being lost to rising sea levels in the Chesapeake Bay.

Ohio University hazing charges bring suspensions

The university is investigating hazing charges brought against several student organizations and social groups.

Vaping in a Md. high school

Clarksburg HS, like others in Montgomery County and across the nation, has a vaping problem among its students.

No Howard Co. juniors face required redistricting

Howard Co., Md., faces not only overcrowding but wide gaps in terms of socioeconomic status of families at its diverse schools.

Monkeys beat humans in cognitive flexibility

When we go about solving problems, we are sometimes so fixed in our ways that we fail to explore more efficient solution strategies.

Calif. law requires a sane start time for teens

A new law in Calif. will require public middle schools to start no earlier than 8:00 and high schools no earlier than 8:30.

Chicago teachers will begin a strike Thursday

Chicago Public Schools teachers are expected to begin a strike Thursday. The last one, in 2012, lasted 7 school days.

‘Read to the Final Four’ coming for 3rd graders

A reading contest for 3rd graders in the Atlanta metro area will crown the "Final Four" schools just before the NCAA tournament.