The Bay St George Detachment of the RCMP has concluded its investigation into reports of hazing activities involving students attending Stephenville High School and there will be no charges.
Cpl. John Butler said the police investigation, which was reported to them in October by the school about incidents from the past, focused on whether or not there were any criminal acts committed during these alleged hazing incidents.
He said the investigation revealed while there were hazing incidents that did happen, based on the information gathered police were not able to conclude criminal code violations had, in fact, occurred.
When asked, Butler could not say what the complaints from the school specifically involved.
He said as a “for instance” somebody making someone else carry water bottles, pucks or balls could be considered hazing but would not be considered a criminal code violation.
However, if a person was grabbed and forced to do something, that could constitute assault which would be a criminal code violation and charges could be laid.
Butler said the distribution of still or video images could also constitute criminal code violations depending on what’s contained on them.
A school-imposed suspension of athletic programs while the hazing investigation was taking place is not being lifted, at least not yet.
Jimmy Strickland, vice-principal at the school, said there are a few pieces the school is working through with coaches and students in relation to education about hazing practices before the suspension will be lifted.
Students in Grades 9 to 12 will be required to take part in a number of sessions being put off by the RCMP that have to deal with the criminal code and how it relates to hazing incidents.
Strickland said it would be premature for him to give a definite timeline right now in regards to the lifting of the suspension.
“Things have to be done correctly and can’t be rushed. The most important thing is doing things the right way,” he said.
The results of the RCMP investigation were shared with Stephenville High school administrators last Thursday.
The word on the results of the investigation was a little bittersweet for Davis Fowlow, an athlete at the school who spoke out against the suspension.
While she was glad there were no criminal charges, she wished the school could have lifted the suspension sooner.
She said volleyball and indoor soccer season are wiped out for her and other members of the female teams because of the suspension.
Now she’s hoping the sports suspension will be lifted in time to compete in the basketball regionals.
This being her senior year in school, Fowlow would like to go out with at least one of her sports despite missing volleyball — her favourite.
She kind of understands the need for the educational outreach since she is aware how bad the hazing stuff could be but said it still hurts many athletes were affected by all of this.