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Students facing misdemeanor charges in hazing incident

Amateur video recorded the hazing incident between Chicago-area high schoolers.
Amateur video recorded the hazing incident between Chicago-area high schoolers.

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CNN's Jeff Flock reports school officials in Northbrook, Illinois, are moving to expel some students.
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Glenbrook North High School Principal Michael Riggle announces the suspension of students involved in hazing.
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The school board begins discussing disciplinary measures stemming from the hazing incident.
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SKOKIE, Illinois (CNN) -- Prosecutors said Friday they are pressing charges against 15 Chicago-area high school students who were involved in a videotaped hazing incident that turned violent earlier this month.

Twelve teen girls and three teen boys will be charged with misdemeanor battery, which is punishable by up to 364 days in jail, said Cook County State's Attorney Dick Devine.

Other punishments could include probation, supervision and a $2,000 fine. A judge will determine the sentences upon conviction, according to Devine.

All 15 teenagers are expected to turn themselves in Skokie, beginning Friday afternoon, Devine said. They will be given the opportunity to post bond, which will be $1,000 each.

The suspects were notified of the charges Thursday night, according to Devine.

The students' next court date is scheduled for June 11.

"During the outburst, six junior girls were injured in a high school rite of passage gone bad," Devine said. "One victim had 10 stitches in her head. There are possible concussions. And it simply is the kind of behavior that any community cannot tolerate and will not tolerate."

The charges were based on a combination of information from witnesses and images captured on videotape, he said.

"There could be more charges if information comes forward that shows that other individuals were attacking victims," Devine said.

He said that officials have decided not to press hazing charges so far because the law defines hazing as something that occurs when individuals are trying to get into a group and that didn't appear to be the case here.

The "powder puff" football game before the event turned violent is traditionally an initiation of junior girls into the senior class, but it is not something students have to go through to gain entry.

"If we have further information in our investigation that supports it, we have no reservation about bringing that or any other charge supported by the evidence," he said.

Information sought about alcohol

Investigators are trying to determine who provided the beer that teens are seen drinking on the video.

Devine said that those adults who purchased and provided alcohol to the teens could face misdemeanor charges.

"It is also necessary that residents and citizens come forward to provide information about who is responsible for providing the alcohol in this case," Devine said.

"This is a very critical part of what happened, and it is up to the community to decide whether it is going to cooperate with law enforcement officials to resolve this most important issue," he said.

Officials at Glenbrook North High School in Northbrook this week suspended 32 students for their roles in the event and announced plans to expel them. Several students have filed lawsuits over the district's actions.

Videos of the May 4 incident show teens hitting younger classmates and showering them with mud, feces and garbage.


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