Hutchinson students arrested in branding incident




Special to The Telegram

Three Hutchinson High School students were in custody Friday for allegedly forcibly branding other students on school property earlier this week during a hazing incident.

According to police, several students, including Kendric Hudson, Jaiden M. Casanova and Cody Curl, allegedly branded four other high school students on their abdomens using heated wire hangers. Hutchinson Police Detective Paul Sack said the branding wasn't done in a particular design and police learned of the alleged battery from parents of the victims.

All of the students, including the victims, are on the football team. Ray Hemman, public information director for USD 308, said in a statement that head football coach Randy Dreiling made two announcements during team meetings this week — when some freshmen moved to the varsity squad — that hazing would not be tolerated in any form.

Sack could not confirm the ages of the victims, but believed they were all freshmen.

In his statement, Hemman said Dreiling learned Thursday of an alleged hazing incident that possibly occurred Wednesday. After conducting an initial investigation, Hemman said the coach turned the matter over to high school administrators and Hutchinson police.

Friday afternoon, Dreiling deferred to Hemman's statement.

Hemman declined to comment further on the details of the case. However, he said hazing and bullying have never been, and will not be, tolerated within the school district.

He could not confirm whether the three students who were in custody are suspended, but he said that according to school policy, administrators have the authority to suspend students when acts of hazing occur.

Friday morning, police arrested Hudson and Casanova, both 18, at Hutchinson High School.

Hudson is being held in the Reno County jail on suspicion of aggravated battery, criminal restraint, hazing and tattooing or body piercing of a minor without consent. As of Friday evening, he remained in the Reno County jail on a $12,000 bond.

Casanova was held on suspicion of aggravated battery, hazing and tattooing or body piercing of a minor without consent, on an $8,500 bond. He was released by Friday evening.

Curl, 16, was taken Friday to the Reno County Juvenile Detention Center for alleged aggravated battery, tattooing or body piercing of a minor without consent, and possession of tobacco.

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