(Originally published on Sept. 30, 2021)By Jeff Wagner

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A small Minnesota community has been rocked by the news its high school’s football season has been completely called off after allegations of serious student misconduct.

The investigation is looking into the high school football team in Proctor, a town located a few miles southwest of Duluth. The football season was first put on hold last week after officials learned of the allegations.

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Charles Noffsinger’s middle school-aged son plays football in Proctor.

“That should not have happened, nothing like that should have ever happened in the locker room,” Noffsinger said.

The school district won’t release further details, such as whether the incident even happened in a locker room. Proctor police have only acknowledged that there’s an open investigation.

(credit: CBS)

Colleen Crumley lives nearby in Cloquet, and also has a son who plays middle school football.

“Everywhere you go someone’s like, ‘Did you hear what happened in Proctor?’ You know, ‘Are you hearing what’s going on? Have you heard the truth?’” Crumley said.

She worries about his potential experience in high school.

“This is supposed to be a safe thing for kids. It’s supposed to be something that they’ll remember for the rest of their life and it shouldn’t be tainted by such negativity and hatred,” Crumley said.

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Alesia Leskey has a middle school-aged daughter who’s a student athlete in Proctor.

“At this point, they do need to take the time to figure out what exactly happened, who was involved. And I think that if the season was still going, that potentially might make people feel unsafe,” Leskey said.

Leskey and Crumley have protested outside the school to raise awareness and support the alleged victim.

(credit: CBS)

“This world is hard enough. They shouldn’t have to worry about playing a sport,” Crumley said.

Rumors of what happened in the incident have spread far beyond Proctor. They’re enough for parents to have tough-but-important conversations with their kids at home about what could happened between student athletes behind closed doors.

“I just tell [my son] don’t be afraid to come to me, go to your coaches, go to a safe place. Just be open and don’t be scared because there’s not gonna be repercussions, especially not from me,” Crumley said.

The school superintendent said the decision to cancel the season comes after consulting with police, the Minnesota State High School League and lawyers. He also said the school plans to take action against the misconduct, and address problems within the football program.

Pine City High School was set to play Proctor’s varsity team Friday night for its homecoming. Pine City’s website now lists Columbia Heights as the opponent for that game.

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Jeff Wagner