Community event aims to unify Hamilton High School community

- As the criminal hazing investigation surrounding members of Hamilton High School's football team continue, some of the members of the school's community put on a community event on Monday night, as they attempt to move forward.

The school's football community is dealing with the fallout surrounding the arrest of three people, in connection with hazing incidents. One of the three, 17-year-old Nathaniel Thomas, is being tried as an adult, and prosecutors are reportedly asking that the other two charged be tried as adults as well.

During the event, Hamilton High School Principal Ken James had an opportunity to speak, for the first time since the scandal broke, a little more than a week ago. The event, which took place across the street from Hamilton High's football stadium, was about unity,and the principal appears to have spoken more towards unifying and protecting the reputation of the school.

"We're gonna learn from this," said James. "I promise you we're gonna learn from this."

The community held a rally Monday night to show pride for Hamilton.

"You are here tonight because you believe in Hamilton," said one woman on the stage, during the event. "Keep believing."

During his speech, James said the unfolding scandal has had a negative impact on the school community.

"When our students and our student athletes are out in the community, some of them have been embarrassed to wear Hamilton High gear," said James. "To me, that is sad."

While the event focused on promoting unity, parents are trying to be cautious against unifying against the victims of the scandal.

"Definitely, coaches have to take responsibility, and a lot of times, that falls with the head coach," said one man. "We love [Steve] Belles, but you know, if it happened on his watch, it happened on his watch, so he's responsible for some of it. We still support him too, because he's not the person that did it."

Belles, Hamilton High's head football coach, has been reassigned to home for an indefinite period of time. Officials with Chandler Unified School District, however, said the reassignment is not disciplinary in nature.

 

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