Napa School District Holds Hearing on Alleged Hazing Incident

One football player's parents speak out about his involvement and punishment after November report

At a hearing Tuesday night, a North Bay couple questioned their son being suspended and facing expulsion for taking part in what is being investigated as a hazing ritual at Napa High School.

The alledged hazing occurred at the end of football season last year, but a hearing to determine one student’s fate took place Tuesday.

The parents of 16-year-old Johnny Torres and their attorney wanted it to be public because they said they have nothing to hide.

Torres is one of about 11 football players suspended by the Napa Valley Unified School District.

With his parents by his side, the junior varsity quarterback gave his version of what happened on the night of the big game last year.

"It took place in the locker room," Torres said, adding that a friend yelled for him to come inside and said, 'Hey we’re messing with the freshman.' I go in, see what’s going on. There’s typical running, messing around, something we see every day, something we do every day."

A complaint filed in November with the Napa Police Department told a different story. Police received reports of football players holding down one or more freshmen players and hitting and grabbing the teammates inappropriately.

At the explulsion hearing, family attorney Mandy Leigh questioned the panel about the accuracy of the information gathered in the investigation.

"The primary reason I was retained is to get this AP, straight-A student, captain of the football team with no history back in school," Leigh said.

Police said they’ve turned the case over to the district attorney.

Torres' mother just wants her son back in school.

"Obviously something happened," she said. "We have to get to the bottom of what did or didn’t happen as far as our son goes."

"I just miss my friends, teachers," Torres said. "I miss being at school. All I want to do is go to school and play football."

A school district spokesperson said the district is striving to maintain respect for student privacy and the investigation, and for that reason, the district had no further comment.

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