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“How could this happen?” Las Cruces mother alleges hazing at Centennial High

Las Cruces mother April Christensen told ABC-7 there is a culture of hazing and inappropriate touching between members of a boys athletic team at Centennial High School.

“This is what’s happening in our locker rooms,” Christensen said.

The mother said she first learned of the hazing after an incident on October 4th, which resulted in one student getting suspended.

“I started to ask questions,” Christensen said. “How could this happen? Where were the coaches?”

The parent told ABC-7 that the boys would touch each others genitals, force underclassmen to take showers with upperclassmen and record much of the incidents on their cell phones.

“It comes down to, ‘Where are the adults supervising these boys?'” Christensen said. “They’re responsible for their safety and the environment that they’re placed in. It is on and off the court and on and off the field.”

The mother told ABC-7 that a coach’s focus should go beyond building a successful team.

“Their job just isn’t about wins and losses,” Christensen said. “It’s also about setting a good example and having an environment be there for these boys to thrive.”​

Christensen said she’s had multiple meetings with school officials, but she said she’s not confident that they’re doing enough to fix the issue.

“They want to sweep it under the rug,” Christensen said. “Even more so, they’re holding power over the situation… I don’t think is an isolated incident.

In an email to ABC-7, a spokesman for the district said administrators have “not found any credible evidence that this was anything other than a single-student issue.”

“I know it’s not an isolated incident in this locker room, in the locker room next door or even in the locker rooms across town,” Christensen said.

In a full statement, the district said:

“Las Cruces Public Schools does not comment on disciplinary action taken against any individual students. Student disciplinary records are protected by federal law under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act. However, the district has strict policies against hazing, bullying, intimidating and offensive conduct. We take these matters very seriously, and we thoroughly investigate all allegations.”

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