Games, practices suspended as police investigate allegation of hazing by members of N.S. football team

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NORTH SMITHFIELD – Law enforcement officials are investigating an allegation that members of the North Smithfield High School football team had been involved in “serious,” incident of hazing, and all practices, workouts and games have been suspended until further notice, according to Supt. Michael St. Jean.

St. Jean said school administration received information about the incident on Monday, June 20 and immediately contacted the North Smithfield Police Department, the Rhode Island Attorney General’s Office, and the Rhode Island Department of Children, Youth & Families to report the allegations.

In a note to parents Friday, June 24, the superintendent said the school also intends to conduct its own investigation.

“We have directed the school district’s attorney to begin the process of engaging the services of an outside, independent firm to conduct a thorough investigation, the results of which will be made public upon completion,” St. Jean said, noting that the team may have violated the school’s anti-hazing policy.

He noted that team activities have been suspended due to the serious nature of the allegations.

“I want to assure you and reinforce that our school district takes any allegations of hazing, bullying, or other misconduct extremely seriously,” St. Jean said. “That is why we have taken these actions.”

The team, a co-op with players from Mount Saint Charles Academy, was scheduled to play its first game Friday, Sept. 16.

NRI NOW will update this story if additional information becomes available.

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14 COMMENTS

  1. Mr Lombardi, the issue reported has nothing to do with the high schools accomplishments; it has everything to do with individuals on the football team. Step up and suspend the team and be honest with the town on the findings of the inquiry!

  2. Good lord let’s stick to the topic at hand, hazing by NS high school football players. It’s not about the field, the cost of the field or the thousand accomplishments of the students in the high school as cited by Jim Lombardi. It’s about the physical or psychological abuse alleged to be inflicted by some members of the high school football team. You can backslap each other all you want, but most of us see a real issue of high school bullying that fortunately was reported and will be investigated by professionals.

    • MCC you think this is going to be handled by professionals? This issue will be decided on a political basis on having a football program this year. If I was handling the situation I would suspend the football program for 3 years to send a message to the students that this type of behavior will not be tolerated whether the allegations are true or not. Even if the allegations are true I can bet that they will find it was an isolated incident by a couple of players that have already graduated so the current team/students will not be penalize and football will be played in NS come this fall.

      • Karen, in many many respects I agree with you. I have lived in NS for over thirty years and I know how the establishment operates. I have called them into question many, many times. Yes, I agree that the program should be suspended immediately and if it were up to me, that would be the case. I am even surprised that this allegation came to light. Imagine the allegation that even the AG’s office and DCYF has been notified? And if this has been an ongoing issue, heads should roll, but will there be any accountability? We can only hope…

  3. Jim if you actually researched RI high school football you would know the divisions are Ia, Ib, IIa, and IIb. That puts NS in the fifth division. Also with the 2-6 record last season I see no chance of moving up. Also expensive facilities do not result in success, just look at Mounts hockey team playing in a small old facility with the greatest high school success in the state. Now on to the marketing portion of your document. 90 plus percent of your achievements are extracurricular activities and not educational. Now if you look at the last NS test ricas scores on the Ride website, math scores are only at 36.1% of students are meeting or exceeding expectations. Also NS school ranking per school digger went down from 8th in the state to 12th in the state in 2020-2021. Based on my math skills and factual analysis I fail to see how NS students are thriving. I have also taken a non scientific poll of students in my neighborhood and they rarely have any homework but they can practice sports for 2 hours everyday. I think the priorities of the school are backwards. Education first extracurricular activities second. Also the football field did increase taxes as we paid for increases in tax rates over prior years when you over budgeted expenses and created a surplus. And again in this years budget you are going to have another $500K surplus and your 2022-2023 did not include any employee turnover that always occurs between $350K-$500K. Now with the cloud of hazing, although very unfortunate, puts a cloud on all NS sports programs and what we are teaching our students. We have also seen no plans for the easer III funds which are mainly targeted for school facilities which I would use to upgrade windows, flooring, structural, and HVAC systems and not for athletic fields.

    • Thanks David for pointing out the discrepancies between extra curricular activities and educational accomplishment. It is a discussion that rarely takes place because of the smoke and mirrors regularly played out by the powers that be. Our town RICAS scores are terrible, our state ranking has gone down and our college readiness score is 39%. Education is the top priority and extra curricular is just that, but now we have hazing. One of these incidents is far too many and I hope that the members of the team that may have participated, are banned from participation and if a crime were committed, punished in a court of law.

  4. The team should be suspended for one year and the outcome of both investigations made public. Shame on any students that violated the school hazing policies, Mounties or Northmen. This behavior is unacceptable.

  5. Wow. The football field $1m spend is really looking good now. Maybe taxpayers can use the field now at no additional fees or tax because we all know that our taxes paid for the field in the first place.

      • Mr. Vowels did you get a kickback on the football field. it seems that when anyone does not agree your opinion with the sizable spend on the football field you get angry. If you actually paid taxes in NSD maybe you may have a different opinion.

    • Veterans Memorial Stadium is utilized by NS soccer, track, lacrosse and football programs and more. The new turf and track (along with bathrooms and concessions once completed) will be an asset to the Town of NS. To indict the efforts to improve our facilities due to allegations related to individuals on one team is ridiculous, and to allege kickbacks is just plain dumb.

      • Tony if you actually did any financial analysis you would find that the football field and bathrooms add zero value to residential properties in North Smithfield and is not an asset. When families with kids are looking to move into a community they assess the quality of the education not the quality of the football field/team especially when the NS team is not in the top 4 divisions in the state. If we had not spent the $2 million plus on a football field and spent the funds on education the town could have been a top 5 school in the state and property values would increase.

        • It would be helpful to use real names to create an open and transparent debate. Tony, thank you for your response. To set the record straight, redoing the field cost $1 million and in my opinion well worth it. The funds came from the surplus from the year the pandemic hit because the school department was already prepared. We were in place to move forward without significant expenses as seen in other districts. The surplus school department funds were used to pay for a million-dollar asset without raising taxes etc. Federal ESSER funds helped us with educational and other expenses. We owe our children good facilities, and we are not done. A child’s physical and mental well-being is essential to me whether they are D-I or D-XII, sports and extracurricular activities make a big difference. Although less relevant to me, there are cost savings. If we have students leave our district for a CTE program in a different district, we pay. If our extracurricular activities are as good as ours, children not leaving us saves us from paying to have our children go to other districts.
          David, where are you getting your facts on North Smithfield is not in the top 4 divisions? Isn’t our football team D-III? What about our Soccer D-II (with the possibility of moving up) team that uses the home field? The facts speak for themselves. For the first time in school history, ALL Spring teams made the playoffs, not bad for a small district. Again, it’s not relevant to me if they are D-I or D-IV. Our sports teams are thriving, which translates to our students thriving.

          James J Lombardi III
          Chairman, North Smithfield School Committee

          ATHLETIC RECOGNITIONS
          2021 Boys Soccer State Champion Div. 2 Finals Runner Up
          Football Div. 3 Semi-Finals Playoff
          Girls Cross Country State Meet
          Girls Soccer Div. 2 Quarterfinals Playoffs
          Girls Soccer Div. 2 Quarterfinals Playoffs/NSHS All-Time Goal Scorer Girls Soccer-
          (individual – Sadie Crozier)
          2022 Baseball Division 3 Champions/Div 3. State Champions
          Boys Lacrosse Div. 4 State Finals Runner Up
          Boys Outdoor Track State Champion 110m Hurdles/New England’s Meet
          Participant (individual – Matthew Stamatelatos)
          Boys Outdoor Track State Champion 300m Hurdles/New England’s Meet
          Participant (individual – Matthew Stamatelatos)
          Boys Outdoor Track State Meet Participant
          Boys Outdoor Track State Meet/New England’s Meet Participant
          Boys Tennis Div. 3 Quarterfinal Playoff Participant
          Boys Volleyball Division 2 Champions/Div. 2 State Champions
          Girls Lacrosse Division 3 Champions/Div. 3 State Finals Runner Up
          Girls Outdoor Track State Meet Participant
          Girls Outdoor Track State Meet/New England’s Meet Participant
          Golf Team State Championship Match
          Softball Div. 1 Preliminary Playoff Participant
          2021-2022 Boys Basketball Div. 3 Quarter Finals Playoffs
          Boys Hockey Div. 2 Quarterfinals Playoffs
          Boys Indoor Track State Champion 55m Hurdles/New England’s Meet Participant-
          (individual – Matthew Stamatelatos)
          Boys Indoor Track State Meet Participant
          Boys Indoor Track State Meet/New England’s Meet Participant
          Girls Basketball Div. 3 State Finals Runner Up
          Girls Indoor Track State Meet Participant
          Girls Indoor Track State Meet/New England’s Meet Participant
          Wrestling State Meet Participant

          ACADEMIC AND ARTS RECOGNITIONS
          North Smithfield High School
          ● Music Festivals:
          ○ Superior Rating – Concert Band – RIMEA Band Festival
          ○ Superior Rating – Chamber Chorus – RIACDA Choral Festival
          ○ Superior Rating – Select Choir – RIACDA Choral Festival
          ○ Superior Rating – Concert Choir – RIACDA Choral Festival
          ○ Superior Rating – Percussion Ensemble – RI Percussive Arts Festival
          ● NSHS Music Department – Disney Performing Arts 2022

          ● Rhode Island Music Education Association – All-State Students
          ○ Senior All-State Orchestra – 4 Students
          (Comeau, Nathan – Dagesse, Noah – Denton, Matthew – Verasammy, Alivia)
          ○ Junior All-State Band – 2 Students
          (Fournier Brianna – Priestley Owen)
          ○ Senior All-State Band – 3 Students
          (Goldberg Brianna – Lane Grace – Sevegny Abygail)
          ○ Junior All-State Mixed Choir – 5 Students
          (Creighton, Janna – Daviau, Alexzaindria – Aleksiewicz, Grace – Remeika, Mia –
          Gregory, Sophia)
          ○ Senior All-State Treble Choir – 3 Students
          (Brandao, Katarina – Jacques, Brianna – Meksavanh, Kyra)
          ○ Senior All-State Mixed Choir – 8 Students
          (Bazin, Theodore – Corriveau, Gabe – Denton, Ryan – Duffy, Sarah – Roden, Caitlin –
          Sund, Carla – Kelley, Elizabeth – Reall, Rachel)
          ● American Choral Directors Associations Eastern Division Honor Choir – Theo
          Bazin
          ● NSHS Yearbook Program – Bronze recognition for the Jostens National Yearbook
          Program Of Excellence.
          ● We the People State Champion
          ● Special Olympics International – National Banner Unified School
          ● DECA first or second place at the RI State Competition and attended the Atlanta
          Conference:
          ○ Apparel and Accessories Marketing – Luz Colon
          ○ Entrepreneurship – Cali Keovongsavang

          ○ Sports Marketing Team – Mason Dinezza and William Sullivan
          ○ Food Marketing – Gabrielle Barros
          ○ Principles of Marketing- Logan Medenica
          ○ Principles of Marketing – Anna Kroner
          ○ Restaurant and Food Service Management – Cassidy Grieves
          ○ Aspire Leadership Academy – Alina Bienkiewicz

          NSMS Music Department:
          ● Rhode Island Music Education Association (RIMEA) Jr. All-State students:
          ○ RIMEA Elementary All State Chorus (7 students)
          (Avery Creighton, Anna Kelly, Makayla LaFrance, Olivia Nordan, Jayden
          Ortiz-Allard, Aileigh Shaw, Cameron Welch)
          ○ Junior All-State Orchestra (2 Students)
          Aayan Khan, bass clarinet; Sam Lane, trombone
          ○ Junior All-State Band (1 Student)
          Jack Narodowy, clarinet
          ○ Junior All-State Mixed Chorus (4 students)
          Anna Aleksiewicz, NdeyeAnna Diene, Ryan Delinger, Zachary Simpkins
          ● RIMEA Junior Choral Festival: NSMS Chorus – Superior Rating
          ● RIMEA Junior Band Festival: NSMS Concert Band – Superior Rating
          ● Music in the Parks Festival May 27, 2022
          ○ 1st place, Superior – NSMS Concert Band (95.5 average)
          ○ 1st place, Superior – NSMS Chorus (90.75 average)
          ○ 1st place, Superior – Jazz Band I (93.5 average)
          ○ Outstanding Jazz Soloist, Lucas Comeau (alto saxophone)
          ○ Esprit de Corps Award (an exemplary attitude of positive support and
          outstanding personal behavior throughout the festival) – North Smithfield Middle

          School Music Program
          ● RIMEA Solo and Ensemble Festival Medal recipients (6 students)
          ○ Angelina Feliz, Flute Solo; Jazmyn Kennell, Flute Solo; Aayan Khan, Bass Clarinet
          Solo; Sam Lane, Trombone Solo; Jack Narodowy, Clarinet Solo; Paige O’Brien,
          Trumpet Solo
          NSMS Yearbook: Jostens National Program of Excellence – Bronze Award
          Rhode Island Science Olympiad Competition – April 2nd & 9th
          ● Second Place in Mousetrap Vehicle – Aayan Khan & Ethan Glucksma:
          ● Second Place in Dynamic Planet – Zachary Simpkins
          ● Second Place in Bio Process Lab – Julia Dowling
          ● Third Place in Solar System – Aayan Khan

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