HANOVER COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — In a note addressed to the families, faculty and staff of Mechanicsville High School, Principal Charles Stevens provided an update on the state of the investigation and the hazing allegations concerning the school’s football team.
On Wednesday, Aug. 24, Hanover County Public Schools announced that all Mechanicsville High School football games would be postponed until further notice as law enforcement and district officials investigated alleged assaults involving players on the team.
In the note sent out on Tuesday, Aug. 30, Stevens said he hopes an update with details on the resuming of football activities will be forthcoming no later than Friday of this week.
“We know this is upsetting. It’s upsetting to us too. We want nothing more than for our players to be back on the field as quickly as possible,” Stevens said. “The fact is that serious allegations have been made, and we have one chance to get this right. It is imperative that we take a thoughtful, deliberate approach to ensure we have a full accounting of what took place.”
Stevens went on to emphasize the importance of student safety. In spite of the community’s frustrations, “we simply cannot rush this process,” Stevens said.
According to the Hanover County Sheriff’s Office, authorities received an anonymous tip on Friday, Aug. 19, that upperclassmen were assaulting other students at the school.
“It is alleged these students are members of the football team,” Hanover Sheriff’s Office spokesperson Lt. James Cooper said in a statement last Wednesday. “The Sheriff’s Office is in the process of interviewing multiple individuals.”
According to a Hanover County spokesperson, more than 60 interviews had been conducted for the school district’s ongoing investigation. Hanover schools and the county sheriff’s office did not share other details regarding the investigations, citing confidentiality laws regarding juveniles.
Stevens’ note can be read in its entirety below:
Dear Families, Faculty, and Staff,
I am writing today with an important message regarding the status of our football program. As you know, we suspended football practices and games due to a joint investigation with the Hanover County Sheriff’s Office regarding misconduct concerns within our football program. That investigation remains ongoing. As a result, football practices and games remain suspended at this time.
While we are disappointed to have to cancel this week’s games, I can share with you that we are hopeful to be able to share more details on a timeline to resume football activities no later than Friday.
We remain sensitive to the impact this situation has had on our football teams and the entire school community. We know this is upsetting. It’s upsetting to us too. We want nothing more than for our players to be back on the field as quickly as possible. The fact is that serious allegations have been made, and we have one chance to get this right. It is imperative that we take a thoughtful, deliberate approach to ensure we have a full accounting of what took place. The only way to accomplish this is to allow the important work to be done, and this takes time. At the end of the day, this is about the safety of our students, which is our top priority. We simply cannot rush this process.
Thank you for your understanding during this time and for your continued support of our school and football program.
Charles E. Stevens
Mechanicsville High School