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“Deplorable” – Rye Board of Education on Hazing Incident Allegations

Last night (Tuesday) around 11:30pm the Rye Board of Education released the following statement about the alledged hazing incident in Rye. This was after we posted Leaders in Rye: Do We Have Any?. We think the timing in coincidental, but we welcome the Board's comments and are ready to add the voices of other leaders in Rye to these pages.

6/12/12

Dear Parents,

Although the Board cannot specifically discuss the alleged facts and circumstances surrounding recent reports of alleged hazing and other unlawful acts involving certain Rye students, the Board feels it is important to communicate its views with respect to this important topic so that there is no misunderstanding concerning the Board's position on the current topic of discussion in Rye.

The deplorable act allegedly perpetrated by a handful of students has not been, is not and never will be behavior endorsed by this Board or the District. While some have referred to this activity as a tradition, Dr. Shine is absolutely right when he states that just because a handful of students call it a 'tradition' we should not, and will not, dignify the alleged conduct in this manner. It is important to note that this is a police matter that occurred off campus. There should be no question that the District is fully in control of the safety of its students on campus and at school activities.

Rye High School has 895 students and thankfully, it appears that almost all of our students have chosen to do the right thing as opposed to the alleged activity that has been reported. It would be unfair to tarnish the well-deserved reputation of our High School and its students based on the actions of a very few.

The community should know that, where appropriate, reported incidents of bullying and/or hazing have been and will continue to be referred to the Rye Police Department immediately and addressed by the District. Those involved will be disciplined to the fullest extent permissible under the District's Code of Conduct and we expect, will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. It is the Board's hope that such a response, coupled with the District's continued efforts to educate the students and the school community about this topic, will go a long way towards preventing this type of alleged conduct from ever happening again.

Parents are a child's first teacher. We encourage parents to discuss this matter with their children in an ongoing manner, and to patiently correct misguided thinking about these activities. It is not 'okay' for the conduct that has been reported to happen in homes, in neighborhoods, in schools in Rye or anywhere else for that matter. Even the threat of such behavior is abhorrent. The spotlight should be on Rye for all the things our students do so well, not because of the alleged aberrant behavior of certain individuals who in no way represent this community.

With parent support, our schools have made enormous efforts, at all levels, to share the problem of bullying and to educate to change behavior. On July 1st, the Dignity for All Students Act becomes law in the State of New York, with a refined focus on the elimination of bullying behaviors in our schools. The law requires an increased effort to train staff and educate students. As a school district, we resolve to do even more to help the message resonate that any such bullying or hazing behaviors are completely unacceptable and that they thoroughly contradict the dignity and respect for students we nurture on a daily basis. Let us clearly state our moral position: this behavior is wrong and it will not be tolerated! The District will do everything within its power to continue to get this message out to parents and students in order to meet its moral and legal obligations to students, parents and community.

As the Board of Education, we stand with all our students; that is our Mission…but, in this instance, we stand first with the alleged victims and their physical and emotional well-being. We ask all parents or students who have information on this alleged incident to please come forward to the police and district officials as part of our community-wide effort to address this matter. This includes any intimidation and threats of retaliation.

Finally, the Board wishes to reiterate that hazing, bullying or any other similar conduct has no place in the school setting or in our community. Such conduct will be addressed swiftly and those responsible will be dealt with to the fullest extent possible under applicable law and Board policy. 

Sincerely,

The Rye City School District Board of Education

  1. al•leg•ed•ly adverb /əˈlejidlē/ 
    1.Used to convey that something is claimed to be the case or have taken place, although there is no proof
    2.
    - he was allegedly a leading participant in the coup attempt
    - allegedly obscene material

    So, is it the Rye community’s view here that there is “no proof?” Are all of us resident bloggers just shilling for the victims? We are after all the ones paying the bills here, no one else.

    This response is really beyond belief at this point. Who hired these disgustingly incompetent crisis pr people?

    No proof.

    No proof.

    No proof.

    Those two words speak volumes to the administrative cancer that is today’s Rye default status.

  2. Tedc, yes — this is allegedly. That doesn’t mean that the BoE doesn’t believe it, they are just doing what their lawyers tell them to. While I know I risk the wrath of a lot of people, from a strictly legal point of view, no one has been convicted of anything and therefore these are allegations. This is America. I recall something about ‘innocent until proven guilty.’

    So…who will be the first one to accuse me of saying that these kids didn’t do this and I am defending them???

  3. Actually that was nicely framed AC – almost lawyerly. Do the hospital admissions and treatment reports exist allegedly – or in fact? Because if they’re not fairy dust apparitions then the tangible, documented, physical injuries recorded in them cannot be classified as “alleged.” No?

  4. I’m confused, Dr. Shine as well as many clueless parents have on more than one occassion removed the school from responsibility….so why are the school’s lawyers advising them and why can’t the school comment on this if they are not responsible? This did happen off school grounds and as Dr. Shine keeps repeating “this is not a traditition”????????????

  5. Because that’s what lawyers do. They are necessary evils. Ever see any of the Allstate commercials? The one where the guy thinks he is a satellite dish and he falls off the roof. The disclaimer says “Do not attempt.” Is that really necessary? Ask an attorney and he’ll tell you it is. I personally believe that if someone is that stupid to do that, then we all benefit!

  6. Avg Citizen:

    A minor legal correction on your earlier post. One is not “innocent until proven guilty”. If you’re charged with a crime, you’re either innocent or guilty of the crime, but the law will presume your innocence until it can prove you’re guilty of the crime. This means that, even if you’re found by cops covered in blood with a bloody knife in your hand standing over two dead victims (and you did it), the law will PRESUME that you are innocent until you’ve been tried for the crime, and found guilty by a jury of your peers… unless you’re OJ, of course. Then all bets are off.

  7. Ted – read the whole statement and stop nitpicking. Two extracts:
    1. “The deplorable act [allegedly] perpetrated by a handful of students has not been, is not and never will be behavior endorsed by this Board or the District.”

    2. “…hazing, bullying or any other similar conduct has no place in the school setting or in our community. Such conduct will be addressed swiftly and those responsible will be dealt with to the FULLEST EXTENT POSSIBLE UNDER APPLICABLE LAW and BOARD POLICY.”

    What more do you want? Public hangings and floggings? Legally the District may not say what is happening to the accused. Do you really want YOUR tax dollars going to litigation expenses and settlements?

    We will very likely NEVER know what punishment (if any) was meted out by the schools. Paying a legal settlement just to know if / what the accused got is not something I’m willing support.

  8. @Elizabeth – I’m at a loss to understand why you’d expect people to show up at a City Council meeting to discuss a court case. Would you please explain what you expected to have said at 11pm (or so) when public comment time came around? But to answer your question, I had another commitment.

  9. @ Elizabeth,

    I can only speak for myself….for the last 6 years I have “lived” at City Hall on Wednesday nights and was so focused on the Stop Signs I forgot I had a family( so to speak).
    After the stop signs were installed I made a committment to my wife & daughter to take the summer off from attending Council Meetings. I did watch most of the meeting from home last night and I was far from impressed!

    I will be attending the upcoming BOE “code of conduct” hearing and evening meeting to address 2 pressing issues.

  10. Elizabeth, how do you know I wan’t there? Other than I already posted that I watched from the comforts of my home, you didn’t know.

    I been resisting posting this (as to not deflect from the issues at hand), but I am confused as to why the name I use here upsets people, or more importantly, diminishes my thoughts.

    You can click on my name and see every one of my prior posts. I do not engage in name calling; I try and post sensible and (hopefully) well-thought out posts. Occasionally they aren’t as well-thought out as I had hoped. [That is me in a nutshell.]

    If it would make people happy that I use a name instead of Average Citizen, then I will. Please feel free to post suggested names I could use! 😉

  11. Avg Citizen –

    May I be so bold as to suggest you post the name that appears on your birth certificate? I do think your thoughts and words would carry more weight if you were willing to be identified. I understand there are reasons why you may wish to remain unknown, but when you have good ideas and show good common sense, don’t you want people to recognize these attributes in you as a person?

  12. Looks like the editorial page people at The Wall Street Journal may keeps tabs on this blog as today they landed internationally on my local message theme twice. Or perhaps it’s just that Harry Truman seems more relevant than ever in a blame spreading world…

    Dimon Takes the Hill

    “J.P. Morgan CEO Jamie Dimon swallowed his share of humble pie Wednesday on Capitol Hill, but along the way he also delivered some lessons to his Senate inquisitors. For starters, Mr. Dimon declined to blame anyone but his own management team for the bank’s $2 billion trading loss, saying “the buck stops with me.” You won’t hear that in a thousand years of Senate debate.”

    http://on.wsj.com/NAU5wy

    Would Harry Truman Blame Paris?

    Europe is in the grip of a financial plague wiping out a generation of wealth and opportunity for millions of its citizens and threatening the world’s economies. Does anyone believe that JFK’s Treasury secretary, Douglas Dillon, would, like Tim Geithner, wave toward Europe that the solution “is in their hands”? Or that former Secretary of State Dean Acheson, the architect of NATO, would have been as screamingly silent as Hillary Clinton is now? Or that Democratic President Harry Truman, who appointed George Marshall, would blame Madrid for tanking his re-election prospects in Milwaukee?

    http://on.wsj.com/KqaDX8

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Last night (Tuesday) around 11:30pm the Rye Board of Education released the following statement about the alledged hazing incident in Rye. This was after we posted Leaders in Rye: Do We Have Any?. We think the timing in coincidental, but we welcome the Board's comments and are ready to add the voices of other leaders in Rye to these pages.

6/12/12

Dear Parents,

Although the Board cannot specifically discuss the alleged facts and circumstances surrounding recent reports of alleged hazing and other unlawful acts involving certain Rye students, the Board feels it is important to communicate its views with respect to this important topic so that there is no misunderstanding concerning the Board's position on the current topic of discussion in Rye.

The deplorable act allegedly perpetrated by a handful of students has not been, is not and never will be behavior endorsed by this Board or the District. While some have referred to this activity as a tradition, Dr. Shine is absolutely right when he states that just because a handful of students call it a 'tradition' we should not, and will not, dignify the alleged conduct in this manner. It is important to note that this is a police matter that occurred off campus. There should be no question that the District is fully in control of the safety of its students on campus and at school activities.

Rye High School has 895 students and thankfully, it appears that almost all of our students have chosen to do the right thing as opposed to the alleged activity that has been reported. It would be unfair to tarnish the well-deserved reputation of our High School and its students based on the actions of a very few.

The community should know that, where appropriate, reported incidents of bullying and/or hazing have been and will continue to be referred to the Rye Police Department immediately and addressed by the District. Those involved will be disciplined to the fullest extent permissible under the District's Code of Conduct and we expect, will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. It is the Board's hope that such a response, coupled with the District's continued efforts to educate the students and the school community about this topic, will go a long way towards preventing this type of alleged conduct from ever happening again.

Parents are a child's first teacher. We encourage parents to discuss this matter with their children in an ongoing manner, and to patiently correct misguided thinking about these activities. It is not 'okay' for the conduct that has been reported to happen in homes, in neighborhoods, in schools in Rye or anywhere else for that matter. Even the threat of such behavior is abhorrent. The spotlight should be on Rye for all the things our students do so well, not because of the alleged aberrant behavior of certain individuals who in no way represent this community.

With parent support, our schools have made enormous efforts, at all levels, to share the problem of bullying and to educate to change behavior. On July 1st, the Dignity for All Students Act becomes law in the State of New York, with a refined focus on the elimination of bullying behaviors in our schools. The law requires an increased effort to train staff and educate students. As a school district, we resolve to do even more to help the message resonate that any such bullying or hazing behaviors are completely unacceptable and that they thoroughly contradict the dignity and respect for students we nurture on a daily basis. Let us clearly state our moral position: this behavior is wrong and it will not be tolerated! The District will do everything within its power to continue to get this message out to parents and students in order to meet its moral and legal obligations to students, parents and community.

As the Board of Education, we stand with all our students; that is our Mission…but, in this instance, we stand first with the alleged victims and their physical and emotional well-being. We ask all parents or students who have information on this alleged incident to please come forward to the police and district officials as part of our community-wide effort to address this matter. This includes any intimidation and threats of retaliation.

Finally, the Board wishes to reiterate that hazing, bullying or any other similar conduct has no place in the school setting or in our community. Such conduct will be addressed swiftly and those responsible will be dealt with to the fullest extent possible under applicable law and Board policy. 

Sincerely,

The Rye City School District Board of Education