HAVERHILL, MASS. (WHDH) - A crowd of Haverhill residents gathered at City Hall for a school committee meeting focused on disturbing hazing allegations involving Haverhill High School football players that prompted the cancellation of the season.

Among those speaking Thursday night were students who said they were shocked and saddened that something like this could happen in the locker room at their school — and parents who wanted answers.

“This situation is obviously very disgusting, disturbing, and unacceptable in many ways,” said Haverhill high student Morgan Flaherty. Her classmate, Abigail Brown, called it a “disheartening time” for the community.

Haverhill School District Superintendent Margaret Marotta said, “It saddens me that because of this conduct our entire school community will suffer.”

The meeting came a day after Haverhill Public Schools announced the team would forfeit all future matches, including their Thanksgiving game, after a disturbing video from a locker room was leaked, prompting police to open an investigation as the school placed the team’s coaches on paid administrative leave.

Haverhill Mayor James Fiorentini also spoke at the meeting, vowing to get to the bottom of who knew what about the unacceptable hazing conduct and what they did to stop it.

“Significant material was uncovered today which impacts the direction of the investigation and the entire school community,” HPS said in a statement Wednesday. “Given the seriousness of the misconduct, the District has decided to end the current football season – canceling all future practices and forfeiting future games. Out of an abundance of caution, members of the coaching staff have been placed on paid administrative leave during the investigation.

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