Report of a possible hazing incident at Niles North High School in Skokie, Ill., has prompted the school to suspend its varsity football program indefinitely.
Niles North Principal James Edwards sent an letter Monday to parents that informed them about the reported incident.
"This note is to alert you to a possible hazing incident at Niles North High School," Edwards wrote. "I am sharing this information with you so that you are aware of it, because we have zero tolerance for hazing, bullying or other forms of harassment....Even though this will be a difficult time for our school, I believe that if we pull together and work to act upon the principle that we treat each other with the respect and dignity we all deserve, Niles North will become an even stronger school community.
The letter did not specify the nature of the alleged hazing incident or who may have been involved.
An official statement from Niles Township High Schools District 219 says varsity football operations at Niles North are suspended until further notice as authorities investigate the reports of hazing.
"Over the weekend, school officials took immediate action based on the reports received," the district says. "The school immediately notified the Skokie Police Department, and Niles North is working in conjunction with Skokie Police during this investigation."
Skokie police say the high school and school district are cooperating with the police investigation. Officers will be interviewing students and coaches over the next several days, according to a police department news release.
The Niles North football team has a 2-3 record and was scheduled to play Maine South High School on Thursday night in Skokie, The Chicago Tribune reports. The team has three other regular-season games scheduled beyond that.
“The safety and security of our students is our top priority,” says Niles North Principal James Edwards. “We have zero tolerance of hazing or even the threat of it. Because this is a matter that involves student confidentiality, we ask that our students and families be patient as the investigation unfolds.”