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A reported hazing incident involving West Valley High School football players included rape, allege several students’ parents who spoke on the condition of anonymity over the weekend.
The parents say the football team’s “spirit stick” was used by a member or members of the football team to anally penetrate at least one player in a hazing activity that involved multiple other players last month.
Several students have left the school due to the incident, allege the parents, and at least one family has filed a lawsuit with regard to the incident. The parents allege at least four victims of the hazing activities.
The West Valley High School football team spirit stick is better known as the “PIYA stick”. The parents allege that only football team members know the meaning of this word or acronym and team members are sworn to secrecy.
Parents allege that inappropriate behaviors have long been tolerated on the West Valley High football team, citing several incidents that occurred over the last five years, including football players waking other players from sleep by slapping the players in the face with their genitals. One student in recent years was also forced to eat part of a dead bat found in the team room rather than “take it in the butt,” the parents allege. They said their students have told them rape with the “PIYA stick” has been a longstanding threat among the school’s football players.
Parents also alleged that at least one teacher spoke about the hazing incident to their class at West Valley High, insinuating that the students who reported the alleged rape or rapes were not truthful.
Parents complained that the school has not officially communicated with parents or students about the recent alleged hazing incident, which occurred in October, even though many students are aware of the events and are communicating about them. They allege that victims have been threatened in private messages by perpetrators in an effort to gain their silence.
West Valley High School Athletic Director James O’Brien, head football coach Greg Grandell, Principal Joshua Mason, and Superintendent Victor Hopper all did not reply to phone messages left seeking comment over the last several days. The Shasta County Sheriff’s department has also not responded to a request for comment.
Tuesday evening, the Anderson Union High School District trustees met in closed session via Zoom and were scheduled to take up agenda items listed as pending litigation and staff disciplinary measures.
Head West Valley football Coach Greg Grandell has been with the school for more than 30 years. Last year’s Eagles team was the first to finish its regular season undefeated. The team lost to Paradise in the CIF Northern Section Division III semifinals.
Recently, West Valley Eagles players and coaches received wide North State support and social media acclaim for their “Let Us Play” video submitted to California Governor Gavin Newsom. The video implored Newsom to loosen COVID-19 restrictions that ban many school athletics activities.
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Annelise Pierce has written numerous articles for A News Cafe. Under the mentorship of the Google News Initiative Startup Lab, she is launching Shasta Scout, a hyperlocal news group focused on increasing access to diverse and inclusive news in the North State. Visit her site at www.shastascout.org to sign up for free news or pledge support.