UPDATE: VIERA’s principal has released an email in response to our article tonight. Parents reactions to the email have not been good. She is being criticized for appearing to be more concerned about the football game than the actual incident in her opening. Also, regarding “transparency,” this email was not sent to parents until about 9pm Saturday night after we broke this news despite knowing about this incident on Tuesday.
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A disturbing video has been making the rounds on social media of what appears to be football players from Viera High School in a dark room. The exact location of where the video was recorded is not clear, but it appears to be the locker room. Coaches were right outside in the hallway. In the video, there are at least 2 players, believed to be freshmen according to those familiar with the players, who are having simulated sexual acts performed on them by multiple players.
We will not be posting the video as there are multiple children’s faces in it.
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The video begins showing one child having his pants attempting to be pulled off of him as he reaches to try and grab them. There is no audio on the original video we obtained. However, we’ve since been provided a video with audio, and the children can be heard saying who is next.
He is then mounted by multiple teammates simulating sexual acts upon him. The child is covering his face and appears to be laughing during the ordeal.
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In the background of the video is another victim who appears to be elevated off their feet and another player simulating another sexual act behind them.
According to officials, some of those who participated in the acts have been “disciplined.” It is not clear what that discipline actually is. Parents report that some of the children were benched for the first game football game last night. The video is reportedly from before this school year officially started, but during this summer. However, the principal’s email states an incident occurred this past Tuesday.
Hazing is illegal in Florida.
“Hazing” means any action or situation that recklessly or intentionally endangers the mental or physical health or safety of a student for purposes, including, but not limited to, the purpose of initiation or admission into or affiliation with any organization operating under the sanction of a postsecondary institution.
“Hazing” includes, but is not limited to:
Pressuring or coercing the student into violating state or federal law;
any brutality of a physical nature, such as whipping, beating, branding, forced calisthenics, exposure to the elements, forced consumption of any food, liquor, drug, or other substance, or other forced physical activity that which could adversely affect the physical health or safety of the student;
Any activity that which would subject the student to extreme mental stress, such as sleep deprivation, forced exclusion from social contact, forced conduct that which could result in extreme embarrassment;
Other forced activity that which could adversely affect the mental health or dignity of the student.
A person commits hazing, a third degree felony, when he or she intentionally or recklessly commits any act of hazing upon another person who is a member of or an applicant to any type of student organization and the hazing results in serious bodily injury or death of such other person.
A person commits hazing, a first degree misdemeanor, when he or she intentionally or recklessly commits any act of hazing upon another person who is a member of or an applicant to any type of student organization and the hazing creates a substantial risk of physical injury or death to such other person.
It is not a defense to a charge of hazing that:
The consent of the victim had been obtained;
The conduct or activity that resulted in the death or injury of a person was not part of an official organizational event or was not otherwise sanctioned or approved by the organization; or
The conduct or activity that resulted in death or injury of the person was not done as a condition of membership to an organization.
We are awaiting a response from Brevard County Sheriff’s Office if there has been a criminal investigation initiated.
Just last week, Brevard Public School Board was reviewing and updating its hazing policy. This is the latest imbroglio to hit BPS as they struggle with record teaching vacancies to start off this school year and a new superintendent.
Much focus has been on protecting children from members of the opposite sex from using bathrooms or locker rooms, what is appropriate for content in books in the school libraries, and school discipline policies.