Butler Township Police Chief John Hays confirmed the criminal investigation.By Andy Sheehan

KARNS CITY, Pa. (KDKA) — Four students at Karns City High School could be facing criminal charges in connection with allegedly assaulting and seriously injuring another student earlier this month.

All four students have now been expelled, KDKA investigator Andy Sheehan has confirmed, and are the focus of a criminal investigation.

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Plans were for a massive walkout Thursday over the expulsion of the four students for allegedly assaulting and seriously injuring another. But a small group who did claim the school administration rushed to judgment.

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“They’re upset with how the district is handling a disciplinary issue. What I’d like to remind people, there is a victim in this case,” said Superintendent Eric Ritzert.

The four were students at Karns City. But as of earlier this month, they were taking some classes with students from other school districts at Butler Vo-Tech. According to sources, this was where the alleged assault took place.

Butler Township Police Chief John Hays confirmed the criminal investigation and said his investigators are attempting to interview all students involved, as well as reviewing a video of the incident.

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Superintendent Ritzert suspended the four students. And after the school board reviewed the video, the board upheld his recommendation to expel them.

“The board arrived at a decision, with the administration recommendation, to expel all four students involved. The police are actively pursuing whether or not to file charges. I would expect some level of charges to be filed in the near future,” he said.

Neither the superintendent nor the police would discuss the incident in detail except to say the victim suffered some serious injuries. A source told KDKA’s Andy Sheehan that it occurred in a locker room or utility room and may have been a kind of hazing that turned excessively violent.

In an email to parents, Ritzert tried to head off Thursday’s walkout, telling parents the incident was very serious.

Sheehan: You told the parents this isn’t boys being boys?

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Ritzert: It’s not. It’s way beyond that.