Back on 01/21/12 I blogged about a media story involving claims of hazing by participants of the dual community wrestling program of Erie and Prophetstown Illinois. The original report hinted that the school board figured it would be settled quickly. Well it was and it wasn’t. The accuser, team members and coaches did a very quick and public kiss-and-make session for the media. The board stated that an independent investigation would quickly follow. Well that kinda-sorta happened. The study lasted a little longer than the story hinted it would take. No big deal, it is important to get it right when looking over legal allegations. The media reported that the study exonerated the school and wrestling squad of hazing charges that included claims that athletes participated in vulgar acts, including genitalia to the face, sexual grinding and urinating on teammates in the locker room shower. That the events may or may not have happened is still in question.
Whatever did happen was determined to not be any hazing that the school, could be held responsible for. There seemed to be some disconcert in some of the posts I read about the objectivity of the investigation team. I don’t pretend to know how much fact there was in those assertions. I do know that I read at least one board-member name – assuming it is the same person I used to know, from the time I spent in
Peyton Place, err. I mean Erie – were I the lawyer of the accuser – I would ask to excuse himself from any discussions of any case involving sexual improprieties. Of course as I predicted in my previous post – don’t hope to find out too much information about the incident. A media piece by writer, Rebecca Smith, over on WQAD seemed dissatisfied with the information – not being released by the school. She stated that her conversation with the investigation attorney left her with more questions than answers. And the information released by the school was that it would discuss the Independent study behind closed doors – weeks from now. Oops, No big surprise there either, at least to this blogger. Let the dust settle the hide the board discussion behind locked doors. Smith did report that the school is taking action to increase monitoring of the locker rooms. I suppose the only question there is will it be just the wrestling locker rooms be the recipient of increased observation or will the system up its watchdog status of all physical education and sports activity locker rooms.
As I stated in my previous post, unless things have changed greatly over the last several years, the dirty little secrets of potential for actual, or perceived hazing or sexual harassment activity is very likely still ongoing. Smith also seemed to target just high school wrestling squads as far as potential hazing events. They may be the only ones brave enough to report the possible incidents, but my guess is that similar situations in all phys-ed events are more common than most schools will admit publicly, privately or even to themselves. While the media eagerly awaits the Erie Board’s response to the study, I fully expect that the silence from the Erie Board, will continue to be deafening.
- Inside a culture of hazing in athletics (thegazette.com)
- Community backs Kennedy High coach suspended over hazing (abclocal.go.com)