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Chattanooga Times Free Press (Tennessee)
Officials in Marion County, Tenn., said Thursday that two juniors on Whitwell High School's football team were expelled after admitting they struck a freshman football player on the back with a belt on Wednesday.
"The two gentlemen who carried out these acts were expelled today," Marion County Director of Schools Mark Griffith said Thursday. "Their fate will be determined by a disciplinary hearing in the coming days. State law says we'll have 10 days to schedule that. It'll probably be sooner rather than later."
Griffith said the victim in the incident was examined by a physician on Thursday to determine whether he'd suffered any injuries.
While the incident happened before football practice on Wednesday, the victim and the two juniors participated in practice, he said.
Griffith said he learned about the incident sometime around 8 or 9 a.m. Thursday.
Whitwell High School football Coach Randall Boldin received a text on his cell phone about the incident Wednesday night but he had already gone to bed, Griffith said. Boldin saw the message when he rose Thursday morning and he notified school Principal Teena Casseday, who, in turn, notified Griffith.
The juniors were questioned about the incident and admitted to striking the other boy with the belt, Griffith said.
Griffith said a report on the incident was filed in Marion County Juvenile Court and officials with the Department of Children's Services are involved, as well. He said Whitwell High's school resource officer was involved throughout the investigation.
He said the disciplinary hearing will take place before a panel of school administrators from other schools in Marion County. Whitwell High administrators will not be part of the panel, Griffith said.
The Whitwell Tigers football team's record is 6-0 for the first time in school history, and the team is ranked third in Class A. The Tigers have no game this today but return to the field on Oct. 6 when they play at home against the non-conference Trousdale County High School Yellowjackets from Hartville, Tenn.
Boldin is coaching his first season with the Tigers and the post at Whitwell High is his first job as a head coach.
Sports editor Stephen Hargis contributed to this story.
Contact staff writer Ben Benton at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6569. Follow him on Twitter @BenBenton.
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