Ruth Greenwood: Hazing inquiry
July 17, 2014
To the editor:
What were they thinking? The hazing issue perpetrated by upperclassmen on the football team of Moffat County has raised many questions in my mind.
I have heard comments around town blaming the coaches for this event and complaining that we need all new coaches, because Craig's team hasn't been a winning team for too long. Now that we know the names of those coaches and their punishment, where are the names of the students who were the cause of this whole debacle? Please don't use the excuse that they are minors and protected by law. Obviously the victims now are known, because they had the courage and outrage to come forward on this.
If there are those who think this is making a mountain out of a molehill, let me give you something to think about. How much has the school district spent on promoting a "no bullying" atmosphere? Do you ever wonder if maybe some of these athletes have heard parents express anger at coaches' "ineptitude" and could the student ever think, "Bet we could do something to cause a problem focusing on the coaches and get them fired?"
You think that could be preposterous? Tell me how the upper echelon of school sports players think it's "funny," "cool," "just playing," "just toughening them up" or any other explanation they might give for physical and mental abuse of a team member. Supposedly, sports promote a team spirit, as evidenced by some of the T-shirts I saw on students at games. The actions of these young men (and they are not boys) proves that it takes much more to create kindness and consideration toward others than words about responsible actions.
Did the school district pay to send the players to this camp? If so, why then does the school district think it cannot afford useful life skills classes such as welding, woodworking, vo ag, things that prepare a student for real life. If there was no cost to the students involved in this act at camp, they should have to reimburse the district as it seems obvious to me that they weren't there to learn about playing a better game of football in order to win. Why punish the coaches?
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Another question: What is the position of the coaches? As I understand it, the coaches do not bunk with the boys or enter showers with children. If so, is this school policy? Just how much control are they given during times when students are on their own?
Just wondering why action was taken so quickly with regard to the coaches and nothing is yet said on the punishment to the football players. Anything less than expulsion from the team with no opportunity to play again and no chance for football scholarships would be a mere slap on the wrist and a laughing matter for the students.
You say, "But we need those older players …" Really? So it's more important to keep this kind of player so we can win than encourage sportsmanship and good citizenship?
The Daily Press needs to publish information on the when and where of the next school board meeting on the front page in large print. All parents, grandparents, players, sports enthusiasts, merchants, persons who have purchased those sports cards sold by players and anyone else who has been a sports supporter need to attend and ask hard questions of the board and administration about priorities for our school district.
It's time for action.