Hamilton High School principal, parents react to hazing incident

- Last week, the Head Football Coach of Chandler's Hamilton High School was replaced, as the school continues to deal with the fallout from a hazing scandal.

Several football players were arrested as a result of the alleged hazing incidents, and one of the players, Nathaniel William Thomas, is being prosecuted as an adult.

According to school district officials, the decision to replace Steve Belles' as the school's Head Football Coach was not disciplinary in nature.

"I would agree with that, because we don't have any details from the police yet, and the District has done their investigation, and they haven't turned up anything that would require disciplinary actions," said Hamilton High School Principal Ken James. 

Belles was "reassigned to home" weeks before news of him being replaced was announced. That reassignment, according to statements made by officials at the time, was also not disciplinary in nature.

Ever since the hazing scandal began to unfold at Hamilton High, parents have said little to nothing in regards to how they feel. There have been four school board meetings held since then, and nobody went to the microphone in any of the meetings.

Requests made to the President of the football team's booster club for comment were declined, and two parents who spoke with FOX 10 Phoenix's Matt Rodewald at a girl's softball team state championship game Monday night initially spoke with Rodewald, but later changed their minds, and complained to officials with the Arizona Interscholastic Association (AIA) of the reporter's presence.

Other parents who spoke were clearly uncomfortable with the subject, and brushed aside the scandal as they were not involved.

"I guess it's a tough subject to speak about," said Dexter Pascual. "We don't follow football program. We follow the softball program. If I had a son in the program, I would probably follow the football program, but I don't know too much."

"I just feel bad for the kids that weren't involved, the good kids," said Michael Monaghan. "Unfortunately, one bad kid ruined it for everybody. I know the coaching staff, if they had any idea what was going in, they would have nipped it in the bud right away."

"When you look at the whole thing, we are only talking about a few students here that were involved that we know of," said James. "And we are really going forward, and we are being super cautious in everything we do."

James went on to say the administration has finished its investigation of the hazing scandal, and no new information has turned up as a result. James also said he has not spoken to Belles in the six weeks since he was initially removed as Hamilton High's head football coach, out of an abundance of caution.

James said, however, he will eventually speak with Belles.

James also said only five players have transferred to other schools.

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