School officials at St. Patrick St. Vincent High School in Vallejo have fired their football coach and expelled five varsity football players connected to a hazing incident.
The school is not releasing details on the hazing, other than to call it a very serious case. The coach was not involved in the hazing itself, according to school officials, but said he was held responsible.
Principal Mary Ellen Ryan said the "abusive and inappropriate behavior" happened between the varsity players and the junior varsity players.
"As a result of that investigation, I made the decision to expel five students who had engaged in the abusive behavior, and personally informed those students and their families earlier today. We have also reinstated four coaches, who were cleared in the investigation, but have dismissed the head coach, who had ultimate responsibility for supervising the students during the time the inappropriate behavior took place," Ryan said in a statement.
The school said they had numerous reports of hazing that went over the line and that sparked an investigation prior to the Christmas break.
The school announced the punishment for the students and the coach Friday.
The coach, Chris Cerbone, says not only did he not know about the hazing when it was happening but he was the one who reported it as soon as he became aware.
Cerbone says he is angry, "The minute I found out about it I raised the red flag and brought it to their attention to save the kids from more misery and I get fired."
Cerbone says during football season junior varsity football players asked another coach for help.
"They told him of incidents of hazing he said not my problem dismissed them," Cebone said.
Cerbone said he went to the schools principal in December when students confided in him. He says firing him for reporting the abuse sends the wrong message to students and staff saying, "My goal was to take care of students safety."
“Hazing and other forms of abuse or harassment will not be tolerated at SPSV High School . The safety and well being of students is our highest priority and any threat to student safety will be dealt with appropriately,” Ryan said in a statement.