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Middle School Football Players Face Charges Stemming From Bullying

The Miami Dolphins aren't the only football team dealing with an ugly case of reported bullying.

Three middle school football players from Sibley-Ocheyedan Middle School in Rock Rapids, Iowa, face misdemeanor charges for reportedly bullying a teammate, according to the Sioux City Journal.

The charges, which include simple assault, assault with intent to commit sexual assault, and dissemination of obscene material, stem from an incident that occurred on Oct. 15, the paper reported.

The Sibley-Ocheyedan school board held a special closed-door meeting on Nov. 2 to decide the fate of the three boys. Two of the 8th graders were expelled for the remained of the semester, according to the paper, while the third was allowed to return to school following a five-day suspension. The two boys who were expelled will be on in-school suspension until the end of the third quarter in March, and are also barred from participating in any extracurricular activities until Nov. 1, 2014.

"It appears some of the bigger kids were targeting one of the smaller kids," Lyon County Sheriff Stewart Vander Stoep told the paper. "There were some sexual innuendos going around."

The incident occurred on the bus en route to an away game, according to local news station KTIV.com. One boy allegedly pinned down the victim, said victim's father to KTIV, and told another boy to "put his genitals in [the victim's] face." The third boy, who was allowed back to school after the five-day suspension, reportedly took a picture of the incident on his cellphone.

"The picture circulated to everybody," Taylor told the Des Moines Register. "By the time the bus arrived home, some of the volleyball players asked my son how the left side of his cheek felt."

The two expelled boys must also perform community service, lead an anti-bullying session at the middle school, and refrain from retribution against the victim, according to the Register.

As many football fans already know, a similar incident is playing out at the professional level between two offensive linemen for the Miami Dolphins. According to NFL Media's Albert Breer, Dolphins lineman Richie Incognito used a racial slur and threatened violence against his teammate, Jonathan Martin. Martin left the team early last week, and Incognito was suspended by the team this past Sunday.

According to an unscientific survey conducted this week by ESPN.com reporters, 57 of 72 NFL players surveyed across the league (79.2 percent) said they would not want Incognito as a teammate.

Chicago Bears wide receiver Brandon Marshall, who's been very open about his struggles with mental illness, discussed the incident on Wednesday with reporters (via the Chicago Tribune):

"What's going on in Miami goes on in every locker room. But it's time for us to start talking. Maybe have some group sessions where guys sit down and maybe talk about what's going on off the field or what's going on in the building and not mask everything. Because the (longer) it goes untreated, the worse it gets."

As evidenced by the actions of a select few from the Sibley-Ocheyedan Middle School football team, Marshall's advice doesn't just apply to the professional level.

Want all the latest K-12 sports news? Follow @SchooledinSport on Twitter.

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