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Editorial: Elk River matter far from a joke

The high school sports season is now officially under way, and regional prep teams will take to the gridiron for their first games later this week. Let's only hope what has taken place recently at Elk River High School remains an isolated incident.

Things were looking a bit better at Elk River Monday as compared to last week. That's when -- in the wake of a parental complaint about a hazing incident -- the district suspended all its football team's activities, notified the police and hired an outside law firm to investigate further. Now the team will open its football season Thursday as scheduled, but without four players who have been kicked off the squad (as well as three suspended for four games and two for one game).

When considering the act of hazing, pledging of college fraternities and sororities may first come to mind. We're also not so naive to think that there are not occasionally these types of activities at the high school level.

But no matter what you call it, when a group of football players gets held down by their teammates and, according to the Associated Press, is "poked in the buttocks with the handle of a broom or mop," it's unacceptable. And any sort of school district action that results in investigation and subsequent disciplinary action is thoroughly justified. After all, it's far more than "a joke that's gone way out of proportion," as one Elk River player said Sunday night.

We hope teams around our region -- around the state -- take note of this incident.