Two Rockdale County High School seniors were arrested for allegedly hazing a junior after a fight between football players on Aug. 4.
Neville Hewitt, 17, a wide receiver/defensive back, was charged with hazing, a misdemeanor, and Mitchell Nolan, 17, a linebacker, was charged with hazing and battery.
The victim, a 16-year-old junior who was also on the football team, told officers that he was confronted by five males that he thought were all seniors while he was leaving to be picked up by his mother after practice.
According to the report filed with the Conyers Police Department, the junior said he was punched in the face and chest, and fell on the ground and "balled up to protect himself from the assault."
The victim "stated he has had no previous physical confrontation or beef with any of the students at RCHS.... he believed the incident occurred due to hazing. (The victim) stated he was tired of the same group of suspects picking on all the students at RCHS," according to the report. The officer writing the report observed that the victim had a bruised left eye with a slight open cut below the eye.
Coach Michael Etheridge said the incident was a case of roughhousing that got out of hand and occurred on a hot day when the team was unable to play and forced inside in a small space.
"This involved horseplay kids took a step too far when somebody bumped into somebody else," he said. "We don't have hazing here... You usually don't have hazing with seniors and juniors."
The victim's mother was also told officers she was concerned that the "the coaches did not do anything about the incident," according to the report. The victim also told officers that the coaches knew the group of suspects had been doing hazing but that the suspects faced no consequences.
Etheridge said, "When you have a situation that is down to horseplay and fighting, we have to deal with it like that. We take care of situation the way it's supposed to be done. There are guidelines and policies we have to follow."
He said one or two of the students involved in the incident are no longer on the team.
RCPS spokesperson Cindy Ball said the incident was under investigation and that there were no other details she could discuss.
Conyers police spokesperson Capt. Scott Freeman said this was the first reported charge of hazing in he could recall. ""I'm not aware of any incidents of hazing at Rockdale County High School," said Freeman.
Rockdale County Sheriff's Office Lt. Mike Sellers, who oversees the School Resource Officers at Heritage and Salem High School, said there had not been a reported hazing incident at those schools that he could recall.