JOLIET, Ill. (CBS) — A police investigation is underway amid allegations of possible hazing at a high school in Joliet, but one student says he thinks it is all being blown out of proportion.
As CBS 2’s Susanna Song reports, the hazing allegedly involved members of the girls’ soccer team at Joliet West High School. The alleged victim was photographed being wrapped with plastic wrap, and pictures of the incident circulated online.
On Thursday morning, student at the school had a late start and were just starting to arrive at the school.
Administrators say they are taking hazing allegations very seriously and are probing the allegations closely.
The girls’ soccer team was at a match over the weekend in Freeport, about 100 miles northwest of Chicago, and authorities believe some students might have wrapped the girl in plastic at the motel where the team was staying.
On Tuesday, Joliet West High School and District 204 sent a letter to parents, saying hazing will not be tolerated. The district defines hazing as physical punishment or direct verbal abuse to a person as a requirement to be a member of a club or team.
But a sophomore at the school and his father say they think the whole thing is being blown out proportion.
“I don’t really know much. All I know is that it was just, like, fun,” said Joliet West sophomore Anthony Dinardo. “I heard that everybody was just kind of going with it.”
When asked if any students were hurt, Dinardo replied: “Not that I know of. Not in a serious way.”
Dinardo said such activities are common at the school, and harmless.
“I’ve done on, like, my travel team too, like, for baseball. We’d have to carry around, like, a Hello Kitty backpack or something,” Dinardo said. “It wasn’t like anything physical.”
Anthony Dinardo’s father, Steve Dinardo, also did not believe the incident warranted a severe response.
“I just thought it was just kids having fun, you know, it wasn’t a big deal to me,” he said. “I think it happens quite often. It wasn’t anything serious that I was really concerned about.”
But not all parents agree. Some parents think the alleged incident was simply disgusting.
Freeport police are working with the high school to investigate, and police say if need be, they will forward the information to county state’s attorney’s offices.
The school would not say how many students were involved in the alleged incident.