Judge overrules suspension over alleged hazing for Pojoaque Valley football players

Politics - Government

SANTA FE, N.M. (KRQE) – An alleged high school football hazing incident left five players suspended. Friday, those Pojoaque Valley High players and their families argued in court their suspensions should be lifted, and they should be allowed to play. The judge agreed.


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Friday morning at a hearing, those players and some of their parents were seeking a temporary restraining order against the suspension — arguing they were innocent until proven guilty.

“Pojoaque did not hold any type of hearing where they would present the evidence against the student, that the student admit or deny the evidence and give the student the chance to tell his side of the story,” said Jerry Archuleta, attorney for two of the players.

All five football players testified in the hearing in Santa Fe and Judge Matthew Wilson did overturn the suspensions. He ruled the students are entitled to some form of hearing with the Pojoaque Valley School District.

The district hasn’t said when the alleged hazing incidents happened just that the investigation is based on anonymous tips from over the past week. In court, the superintendent did describe what the boys are accused of doing to freshman teammates.

“We began the investigation based on the accusation that students were being held down, their pants being pulled down, and the touching of their private parts,” Sondra Adams said, superintendent at Pojoaque Valley High.

The Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office is investigating the claims. While the five players will be allowed to go back to class and play in the homecoming game they are banned from being in the locker room with their teammates.

Only three of the five players had hearings on Friday — the others were scheduled for Monday but the district decided if the judge was going to lift the suspensions for some of the players — it’s only fair to lift it for all of them.

The anonymous tips came through the “Stop It” app, an anonymous reporting tool where students, staff, parents and community members can submit concerns to school districts. 

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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