High School Football

Hazing report leads to investigation, suspensions in Hughson

Several football players at Hughson High School have been accused of hazing, and head coach George Harp was not at Friday’s game against Riverbank.
Several football players at Hughson High School have been accused of hazing, and head coach George Harp was not at Friday’s game against Riverbank. pguerra@modbee.com

An allegation of hazing at Hughson High has led to a law enforcement investigation and the suspension of several players from the school’s football team.

Stanislaus County sheriff’s Lt. Keith Rakoncza confirmed that his department is investigating an incident “at the high school involving students.”

“We are not releasing any information on the case at this time,” Rakoncza said in an email.

It is unclear when the incident occurred or how many students were involved. However, Huskies head coach George Harp has been placed on administrative leave, according to sources.

Harp would not confirm that Tuesday afternoon but said he was not on the sideline Friday when Hughson played Riverbank.

“I would rather not comment on anything at this time,” said Harp, a physical education teacher at Emilie J. Ross Middle School in Hughson and a graduate of Hughson High.

The Hughson Unified School District also refused to say if any employee was on paid leave. Assistant Superintendent Brenda Vaca said the district would not release any details, and she declined to say if any students were injured.

“We want to be sure our investigation is untainted by anything else out there,” Vaca said.

The district board of trustees scheduled a special meeting for Tuesday afternoon. The closed-session meeting was to discuss “public employee discipline/dismissal/release,” according to the agenda, but Vaca said the meeting had been scheduled before the incident and would not address anyone involved.

The Huskies, who are 6-3 and on the verge of their third consecutive postseason appearance, end regular-season play Friday night at Ripon.

Ripon Principal Lance Morrow said Tuesday he has not heard of any plans to cancel Friday’s game.

A statement on a Facebook page attributed to Hughson High School Football read: “Please let the facts come out before we judge anyone or anything. There are teachers/coaches whose jobs are on the line. We have confused kids. If you do not know what happened please don’t comment on it!”

Bee breaking news editor Patty Guerra and education reporter Nan Austin contributed to this report.

Bee staff writer Joe Cortez can be reached at jcortez@modbee.com or (209) 578-2380.

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