PDT Staff Writer
Following an anonymous tip to the Daily Times Wednesday afternoon alleging upperclassmen of the Portsmouth Trojans football team hazing underclassmen in a lewd manner, a call was placed to the Portsmouth City Schools Superintendent Scott Dutey who confirmed an investigation of the alleged hazing.
Dutey said he was first alerted of the allegations Wednesday morning while out of the office for training. When asked if he could confirm an investigation into hazing on the football team, Dutey was succinct.
“Yeah, we are looking into it,” he said.
Dutey met with school administrators Wednesday evening regarding allegations. During that meeting, Dutey released a statement concerning the district’s pending investigation of the matter.
“Portsmouth City Schools is investigating these claims and we take them very seriously,” the statement read. “Our primary concern is the safety of our students and we will continue to make this our No. 1 priority. Our investigation into these claims will be ongoing as we gather additional information.”
Thursday afternoon Portsmouth High School Principal Doug Poage confirmed student discipline has been administered regarding hazing.
“Obviously we are dealing with juveniles. We take the safety of our students as our first and foremost concern,” Poage said. “We understand we have to provide a safe environment for our students whether it be in the classroom or on the athletic fields. We have an ongoing investigation. As part of that ongoing investigation we do have some students that have received school discipline.”
Dutey and Poage have not yet specified the kind of hazing or any details about the actions of the students who were disciplined. Poage described the discipline as severe and when asked about the accountability of the football staff he said that process is ongoing.
“We have handled the student discipline involved and we have an ongoing investigation,” Poage said. “That’s all part of our ongoing investigation.”
The investigation is expected to finish by the end of the week.
When contacted about the allegations, Portsmouth football coach Curt Clifford declined comment.
Bob Strickley can be reached at 353-3101, ext. 203, or firstname.lastname@example.org.