ABC7 Exclusive: Maine West soccer player accused of hazing denies wrongdoing as investigation continues
October 5, 2012 (DES PLAINES, Ill.) (WLS) -- Des Plaines police and school officials continue to investigate allegations of hazing by members of the Maine West High School soccer team on Friday.
One student has been suspended and several coaches have been reassigned, including two teachers, Emilio Rodriguez and Varsity Coach Michael Divincenzo.
ABC7 spoke exclusively with Daniel Silva, a sophomore on the varsity soccer team, on Thursday night.
Silva, who spoke with the permission of his parents, believes that the situation, which he called "friendly rough housing," has been blown out of proportion.
"We really didn't do anything bad. We knew the kids. We're really good friends with them. We did it playfully. I don't know why the dean is going all out with it. Even the two friends being interviewed said it wasn't such a big deal," said Silva.
Meanwhile, students and parents had mixed reactions to the allegations.
"It is a big deal because if no one stops it now, it's going to keep going later and later," said Jason Deac, a sophomore at Maine West.
"I believe people just overreact to it. It's not really that severe, it's like a welcome to the team kind of thing," said Daniel Maka, a senior at Maine West.
"My thoughts are hazing is a bad thing. It's not good for the kids. It's just a terrible thing to do to someone," said Maryann Bartalone, a parent.
In addition to Silva, several other players on the soccer team are facing disciplinary action for another incident last week.
While the investigation continues, school district officials say it is their duty to take any allegations of misconduct very seriously.
"I'm not going to get into. I can't get into any details about the allegations because of school confidentiality laws and principals," said Dave Beery, Maine Township High School District 207.
As for the Silva family, they want Daniel back in school immediately.
"He's going to be behind school for maybe a week, two weeks, three weeks, and it's just not fair," said Olivia Silva, sister.
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