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updated: 1/22/2013 6:11 PM

Dist. 207 may discipline staff, hire investigator

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The Maine Township High School District 207 school board could take additional disciplinary action Thursday against Maine West High School staff members and hire an independent investigator to look into allegations of hazing at the school.

The board is holding a special meeting beginning at 6 p.m. in the board room of the Ralph J. Frost Administration Center, 1131 South Dee Road in Park Ridge.

The school board last month fired Maine West head boys varsity soccer coach Michael Divincenzo after allegations surfaced claiming that senior members of the soccer team hazed freshman teammates. Four current and former students are suing the school district, Maine West, the school's principal, Audrey Haugan, and two coaches, Divincenzo and freshman soccer coach, Emilio Rodriguez.

Two 14-year-old freshman members of the varsity boys soccer team claim they were sexually assaulted inside the school on Sept. 26 as part of a hazing ritual, according to police. Five juveniles subsequently were charged with misdemeanor battery, and a sixth juvenile was charged after police uncovered evidence of another attack they say occurred during a summer soccer camp. The Cook County state's attorney's office is reviewing the charges and has issued subpoenas to District 207 to turn over documents.

Divincenzo has appealed the school board's decision with the Illinois State Board of Education and requested an administrative hearing on the matter, according to his attorney. The appeal process could take up to a year.

Rodriguez also has been banned from school premises and relieved of coaching duties. Rodriguez, a teacher in the applied arts and technology department, and three other coaches have been reassigned with pay.

Also Thursday, the district will be hiring a consultant to lead anti-hazing focus groups at its three high schools.

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