- By Mitchell Northam The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
High school football season is rapidly approaching, but when the Centennial Knights kick off their season against Northside next Friday night, there’s a handful of cheerleaders who won’t be on the sidelines.
In a letter sent to parents recently, Centennial High School’s principal said that some cheerleaders were kicked off the school’s squad after a recent hazing incident occurred at the home of a “cheer family.”
The letter from Principal Anthony Newbold, and obtained by Channel 2 Action News, did not specify the type of hazing that occurred or when it happened. A Fulton County Schools spokesperson later said in an email to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that six students were removed from the cheerleading squads for violating the “Athlete Code of Conduct.”
None of the students were suspended from school.
Newbold said in the letter that the event was designed by and for the cheerleaders, but it was not “directly organized as part of the cheer program.” A Fulton Schools spokesperson confirmed that the event where the hazing occurred was an off-campus, non-school sanctioned activity.
“At that event, several acts of hazing were committed, all of varying degrees,” Newbold wrote. “Hazing and bullying of any kind are not tolerated by Centennial High School or Fulton County Athletics, even when branded as team ‘initiation.’”
Newbold added: “I do not think these athletes acted with intent to harm but intent is irrelevant with hazing.”
Centennial student Bradley Scomma says he knows the girls involved.
“I think they should have not gotten kicked off,” Scomma told Channel 2. “They were initiating a new freshman on varsity and they had a sleepover and they pushed a girl into the pool with her clothes on. Apparently they have been doing this for like, a long time to a lot of people, so they kind of got busted.”
A female student told Channel 2 that the girls “rightfully got kicked off the team.”
A spokesperson for the Roswell Police Department told the AJC that there is not a criminal investigation into the hazing incident and “no one” at the department is “familiar with” it.