Sunday, March 14, 2010

Hazing in MSD Decatur Township ?

Mike Kugelman shot me an email this morning, calling my attention to the inclusion of Decatur Central High School in today's Indianapolis Star's centerpiece article called "When harmless fun turns into hazing". I'm glad he did, as I had not read the entire piece. I have searched for it in the online version of the Star to no avail - it is in the print version only. That is too bad, as this article is important for the entire Central Indiana community to read.

The subtitle of the article captures the thesis well; "Allegations in Carmel have people talking about the problem and possible reforms". The article goes into the now well known hazing by Carmel students on the team bus, incidents at Lawrence North, Avon, and Whiteland High Schools. This is what the authors Andy Gammill, Rob Annis and Mark Ambrogi wrote that involved students at Decatur Central High School :
One incident viewed two very different ways

A recent visit to Decatur Central High School illustrates varying degrees to which -- even on the same campus -- people regard the seriousness of the situation.

Junior John Tapp said he and his fellow wrestlers target freshmen members of the team for pranks but see it as harmless.

This season, he said, the team held down a freshman and taped him to a locker room bench, leaving him there for the duration of practice.

Older players on the team had endured similar incidents when they were younger, Tapp said.

"I think it's pretty much a ritual," he said, adding that it was taken in a spirit of camaraderie.

But classmates on other teams who heard Tapp tell that story did not think it was acceptable.

Cameron Spall, also a Decatur Central junior, said that would go against the culture of the football team, of which he is a member.

The couching staff, he said, has explained that teammates must respect one another rather than use bullying or hazing to create a culture of intimidation and exclusion. That kind of behavior actually hurts a team's unity, the coaches said.

"Not on the football team," Spall said. "Our coach wants us to be a good person. We don't need this to be a good team."

Gary Pellico, a central office administrator and district spokesman, said the football team's philosophy exemplifies what Decatur Township Schools stands for.

The incident Tapp described would not be appropriate, Pellico said. After hearing Tapp describe that incident, Pellico asked the athletic director to examined possible hazing on the wrestling team and alerted the superintendent to the situation.

"That is certainly not our expectation of what a team sport includes, or any activity," Pellico said. "That tradition must stop."

Pellico is absolutely correct - that tradition must stop. But, I do have to wonder, where were the adults during all of this?


Anonymous said...

At least the CO is doing the right thing, by opening an investigation into the activities of the wrestling team.

Of course, would not expect them to communicate the results to the community when completed.

Anonymous said...

Center Grove was in the spot light 5 or so years ago involving a serious hazing incident with the football team. Guess who was superintendent at this time? Nothing came of it even after the family of the victim called the police and filed a report. It was sexual in nature and traumatized the freshman player. The coaches were outside the locker room when it occurred.

Anonymous said...

Glad to read that the football team has continued to behave like Coach Able taught them. The players spoke at the board meeting about how Coach Able taught them. Stinson recommended getting rid of Able and the board approved the recommendation. Athletic Director was one of those let go in the budget thing - was it really the budget? Coach Able deserves praise for insisting on the importance of character.

Anonymous said...

The AD position was not eliminated so it must not have been a budget thing. They re-arranged an unqualified DCHS Asst Principal into that position.

Anonymous said...

The DCHS wrestling student interviewed was misquoted by IndyStar. The student actually stated that he had heard that incidents such as the one described in the article had taken place in the PAST, not recently - as alluded to by the writer. Both the wrestling coach and his assistant are ethical men with high standards. Shame on the reporter for twisting a student's words to come up with a story when there was, in fact, none to be had!

Carla McClusky said...

okay, I understand that 'hazing' is getting needed attention BUT..since when has bullying now become the 'back seat' to this?
I have a grand-daughter who attends DCHS and has repeatedly went to the office to 'have someone' help her with this, today (11-7) this bullying was heard by Mr. Torres, he even spoke, but then told MY GRAND-DAUGHTER (the victim) that that was enough, how she was on a 'thin line' and to go to the office, but nothing to the bully! The BULLY??..used threats, foul words, and such and walked away. Last week, my grand-daughter had to do 'lunch detention' after a girl (bully) called her trash, stupid, and a vulgar name, in front of their teacher. The bully?.. told to go on home, no lunch detention, no sent to office for a 'write up' NOTHING! Now, my granddaughter is constantly in tears, and now wants to quit. So how's that helping all students to feel protected, safe, and respected in this great learning school? I don't think so!
Read your own handbook, read the Indiana State Code for bullying, and get ready to do something.
Hazing isn't your only problem, or have we just forgotten the child who committed suicide last week from emotional bullying? I haven't.
Brigitte's GrandMother.