Lake Zurich hazing report to be released next month
The results of an internal investigation related to allegations of hazing by Lake Zurich High School football players are expected to be released next month.
Lake Zurich Unit District 95 board President Doug Goldberg addressed the football team situation at the start of Thursday night's meeting that attracted about 50 spectators for student recognitions.
"We're working very hard," Goldberg said, "and we expect to release the report to the public in the month of January. And I'm hoping we can conclude that activity. Obviously, moving forward, there will be a number of things we're putting in place. And I'm hopeful that we can all move on to talking about some of the things that are joyful and important in our district."
No one at the meeting spoke about the football team during public comment time.
Last week, Lake Zurich police said there was insufficient evidence to warrant criminal charges for what's been termed inappropriate behavior in the football locker room days before a Nov. 5 state playoff game against Fenwick High School. Emails the Daily Herald obtained from District 95 referred to the activity as hazing.
District 95 officials reported a "suspicious, possibly criminal" incident involving football players at the high school, police said. Lake Zurich investigators exhausted all available leads in the case without any potential victims coming forward.
Police said they began the investigation after the Daily Herald reported football players were ordered to sign a student behavior agreement before the Fenwick game or be prohibited from playing the rest of the 2016 season. The agreement was part of a letter sent to players and parents.
Although the letter provided no details about what happened, it included several references to hazing. It said team members participated in "inappropriate activity" in the locker room after team dinners.
District 95 officials said administrators acted quickly and notified a school resource officer after an employee told them about something that occurred in the football locker room. A school resource officer alerted Lake Zurich police superiors, and the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services was notified.
Head coach David Proffitt and assistant Chad Beaver were placed on paid administrative leave just before the Fenwick game, which the Bears lost 20-14 to end their season. Proffitt is a physical education teacher at the school, and Beaver is a dean.
District 95 officials said an Arlington Heights law firm is heading the internal investigation.
Changes already have been enacted, such as locking dressing rooms when an employee is not available to supervise. Schedules also are in place to identify each coach assigned to supervise a locker room at any given time.
District 95 hired a national expert in hazing and prevention who has worked with school employees to lead education programs.