Three Hutchinson High School students were arrested Friday for allegedly forcibly branding other students on school property earlier this week during a hazing incident.
According to police, several students are suspected of branding four other high school students’ abdomens using heated wire hangers. Hutchinson police Detective Paul Sack said the branding wasn’t done in a particular design and police learned of the alleged battery from parents of the victims.
All of the students are members of Hutchinson High School’s football team. Ray Hemman, public information director for USD 308, said in a statement that head football coach Randy Dreiling made two announcements during team meetings this week – when some freshmen moved to the varsity squad – that hazing would not be tolerated in any form.
Police could not confirm the ages of the victims but think they were all freshmen.
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Police arrested two 18-year-olds at Hutchinson High School on Friday morning. Both were booked into Reno County Jail on suspicion of aggravated battery, hazing and tattooing or body piercing of a minor without consent; one was also being held on suspicion of criminal restraint, jail records show.
A 16-year-old was taken to the Reno County Juvenile Detention Center on Friday on suspicion of aggravated battery, tattooing or body piercing of a minor without consent and possession of tobacco.
The 18-year-olds had posted bond by Saturday evening, jail records show. It’s unclear whether the 16-year-old remains in custody.
In his statement, Hemman said Dreiling learned Thursday of an alleged hazing incident that possibly occurred Wednesday. After conducting an initial investigation, Hemman said the coach turned the matter over to high school administrators and Hutchinson police.
Friday afternoon, Dreiling deferred to Hemman’s statement. Hemman declined to comment further on the details of the case. However, he said hazing and bullying have never been and will not be tolerated in the school district.
Hemman could not confirm whether the three students who were arrested have been suspended, but he said that according to school policy, administrators have the authority to suspend students when acts of hazing occur.
Contributing: Amy Renee Leiker of The Eagle