North Bay News

Vallejo coach fired, 5 students expelled over hazing

Saturday, January 26, 2013

A hazing scandal is surfacing at a Vallejo High School. Five students were expelled and a football coach was fired. On Friday night ABC7 News spoke to that coach in Petaluma.

This all started in December just before St. Patrick - St. Vincent High School in Vallejo went on Christmas vacation.

Former varsity coach Chris Cerbone says that he overheard some junior varsity students say that the junior varsity coach was allowing varsity students to haze them.

According Cerbone, the students described lewd acts done by a few upper classmen inflicted on some of the under classmen. They also said that when they reported the behavior to the junior varsity head coach, he told them it was not his problem.

Cerbone says he first contacted Child Protective Services about the allegations. Then wrote a memo to the principal and presented it to her. As a former New York state police officer, he also offered to help with an investigation of the allegations. So he is surprised that he was fired over the incident on Friday.

"As varsity head coach, I'm being held accountable for the actions of the varsity players against the J.V. kids, but no one is holding accountable the J.V. coach for protecting the J.V. kids from this happening," said Cerbone.

A school spokesman says principal Mary Ellen Ryan dismissed Cerbone because he was responsible for supervising the students at the time the hazing took place. Five students were expelled for their behavior. Six students were interviewed as victims of the hazing and their parents were notified. The school spokesman, Kevin Eckery, says police were notified, but no arrests were made.

"Students here are absolutely forbidden to engage in hazing or bullying tactics of all kinds and it was really a cut and dry situation when that happened. We need to create a safe environment, we need to maintain a safe environment and that's what we're going to do," said Eckery.

Cerbone is also a physical education teacher at the school and he was dismissed from that position as well. He told us, he's being used as a scapegoat in this situation.

(Copyright ©2014 KGO-TV. All Rights Reserved.)

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