Parents say son beaten more than 14 times with paddles after wrestling practice
Students tell First Coast News common knowledge freshman wrestlers must go through initiation
Police investigating battery claim against student at Fernandina Beach High School
FERNANDINA BEACH, Fla -- Police are investigating possible hazing at Fernandina Beach High School, and now the school has suspended the wrestling program.
Parents of a student at FBHS said their son was the victim of a battery after wrestling practice on Monday. They told police their son was paddled more than 14 times on his buttocks, a beating they said was administered by members of the high school wrestling team.
The alleged victims' parents came to police two days later to file a complaint, and said their son's injuries were so severe that large bruises were still visible three days later.
Principal Jane Arnold told First Coast News the school's wrestling program is suspended while the school administration conducts its own investigation. Police have just began an investigation of their own.
First Coast News talked to five students who attend FBHS, and they sid it is common knowledge at the school that freshman wrestlers go through an initiation, and they've been told paddling is part of that initiation.
Several parents in town expressed shock when told about the hazing claim and the suspension of the wrestling program.
Meanwhile Captain David Bishop expects the investigation could take some time because they have a lot of people to talk to. He said it could result in criminal battery charges if investigators find enough evidence to make the charges stick.
According to the schedule for FBHS on the school's website, Fernandina Beach High's wrestling team was supposed to compete in Cocoa Beach Friday and Saturday in a Space Coast Duals meet where they would face four other schools.
The sign outside the school also notes a Dec. 7 wrestling match versus Bishop Kenny that, under the circumstances, is not likely to happen.
First Coast News