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Niles North varsity football suspended amid hazing investigation

Varsity football operations were suspended at Niles North High School while Skokie police and the school investigate allegations of a hazing incident. | Google Streetview

Niles North High School officials have suspended varsity football operations following allegations of a hazing incident involving players on the north suburban team.

Skokie police were notified of the possible hazing incident on Saturday and launched an investigation, which remains active. Interviews of students and coaches will take place over the next few days, police said in a statement Tuesday morning.

Principal James Edwards sent a letter to parents and guardians on Monday reporting the incident.

“I am sharing this information with you so that you are aware of it, because we have zero tolerance for hazing, bullying or other forms of harassment,” he wrote. “Please feel free to share this information with your son or daughter.

In the letter, Edwards said the school took “immediate action” and reported the allegations to the police. All varsity football operations are suspended until further notice.

“The safety and security of our students is our top priority,” Edwards said in a followup statement. “We have zero tolerance for hazing or even the threat of it. Because this is a matter that involves student confidentiality, we ask that our students and families be patient as the investigation unfolds.”

Anyone with information is asked to call the Skokie police at (847) 982-5900; or the Crime Tip Hot Line at (847) 933-8477.

“Even though this will be a difficult time for our school, I believe that if we pull together and work to act upon the principle that we treat each other with the respect and dignity we all deserve, Niles North will become an even stronger school community,” Edwards wrote in the letter.

The announcement comes weeks before the high school’s homecoming game, currently scheduled for Oct. 13 against Niles West, according to the high school’s website.

The accusations also come a week after five Wheaton College football players were charged in an alleged hazing incident at the west suburban college.