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Home Schools Shine-ing No Light on Rye Hazing: We Can't Share Info

Shine-ing No Light on Rye Hazing: We Can’t Share Info

The following in regards to the Rye Hazing incident was released by Rye Schools Tuesday afternoon:

Statement from Dr. Edward Shine
Superintendent of Rye City School District

My statement last night indicated that the information related to charges filed against three Rye High School juniors and released by the Westchester County Department of Public Safety are a legal issue to be handled through the prosecutor’s office and the courts. Parents and the news media are seeking more information about the victims and the RHS juniors involved in these allegations. While this is uncomfortable, I need everyone to know that Federal law prevents the District and its officials from sharing any information about the victims and the students who have been charged. Federal law also prohibits District officials from sharing any information about disciplinary procedures and/or consequences such as suspension.

We will do all we can to protect the health and welfare of all the students at Rye Middle School and Rye High School and we appreciate your continued patience and understanding during this time.

  1. Ted – your assertion is a pile of crap. The people who brought this on were the parents who raised their kids they way the have. It’s also on the community for letting this continue – to varying degrees – year after year. And yes, the schools have some culpability, but the cause lies elsewhere.

  2. I wouldn’t go as far as saying it’s a load of crap Bob. Everyone shares the blame here for sure.

    I definitely agree, everyone has been sweeping this under the rugs and turning a blind eye to this for the last 10 years…NOT EXCLUDING DR.SHINE!!!

    Yes, he had to release statements, he really has no choice, but to put it into the words he did was a little insulting!!!

  3. Jim, respectfully I agree with Bob. Tedc states that Dr Shine brought this on us. Not that he shares responsibility, but HE BROUGHT THIS ON US. I don’t agree with that statement. Do you? [This is a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’ question.] I applaud Bob for speaking out on this so quickly and calling Ted to task on his comment.

  4. Wow all I can say is Dr. Shine has had his head in a gutter for 16 years. FACT: Yes FACT: this has been going on for over 10 years. For this guy to say this not a tradition well in a way you have to call it a tradition Not a good one but the point is its been going on. Please do not think for one minute i think what happened is ok. Good thing this guy is leaving and hopefully the next guy is better. Since day 1 I thought the guy was a bone head.

  5. Ya no what, “need change”? This may have been going on for a long time. But I guess you’ve missed all the character development, anti-bullying, etc. training that has been offered in the schools, after school, etc. It’s not like the situation was ignored by the schools and the POs/PTOs. But somehow, kids continue to bully others. [And we all know adults who do the same, but usually just verbally. Doesn’t make it okay, but it still happens, right?] Maybe the right place to solve this problem is in the home.

    Have you attended any of the many, many sessions offered? Do you have children with whom you’ve spoken about the evils of bullying, how to handle bullies, etc.? Given that you won’t use your real name, it’s tough to accept ANYTHING you may say as valid so I’m pretty sure your answer will be meaningless. But anonymously blaming others is certainly not a very courageous stand to take on this issue. I salute the parents of any of the victims who choose to pursue the aggressors in court. That kind of action is probably the only thing that the bullies involved will understand. Hopefully the parents don’t try to shield the bullies from their just punishment as doing so will only serve to tell them that the only problem with what they did was getting caught.

  6. Hey Rob never said bullying was good never did I once say what happened was right. I am pointing out it has been going on for a long time and no i have no kids in Middle or HS. Also I am commenting on what Dr. Shine stated you moron. Did you read his statement? So pull your head out of your a** and don’t twist my words. That’s good the school teaches about bullying. It’s horrible and needs to be addressed.

  7. It is appalling that this “tradition” has been going on for 10 years, but what is equally surprising is the knee-jerk reaction to blame the schools. I can’t see how anyone can blame the school system – if you disagree with me, please highlight to me where in the school’s curriculum are students taught how to engage in pedophiliac quasi-S&M practices, not to mention felonious assault and kidnapping? What teachers are instructing students in the fine art of beating smaller kids?

    I also think blaming the parents is a bit of a cop-out. The perps acted of their own free will, and I doubt they sought input from their parents prior to acting. Had they done so, I can only believe the reaction to such a horrific idea would have been swift and condemning.

    No, the blame lies squarely with the three punks arrested. They have made an enormous mistake, and should pay the price, perhaps by expulsion from the RCSD, jail time, elimination from any sports program, required anger management training, psychological examinations, etc. And not on the taxpayer’s dime, either. Sometimes, one’s purpose in life is only to serve as a warning to others. If these three are treated harshly, their lives will undoubtedly be harmed to some extent – but then, haven’t they already harmed others? And if they get off with a lot of “stern talk”, a repeat action in a few months time will result in felonious charges that could see them in prison.

    Punishing them severely, however, will send a very strong message out to all the other little budding terrorists and tormentors that such activities have no welcome in Rye. Time to bring the hammer down…

  8. Bullying and Hazing are bad and they are wrong. This incident occured after school and off school property. Dr. Shine has indicated that comments by the RCSD Administration are directed by Federal Law. And Rye police have turned this over to the County for investigation. I’ve been told that, historically, the ringing of the school bell signalled the beginning of school and the ending of school. This meant that during that period of time the children of the community would be in school, being educated and the responsibility of the school for those, 7 hours. After the closing bell, for the next 17 hours the children would be the responsibiity of the parents. Lets keep in mind, that the primary purpose of schools is to educate our children. Whose job is it then to enforce the teachings? The parents and the community!! Someone once said, it takes a village to raise a child. The problem of bullying and hazing is not just a RCSD issue, it is a parent’s and a community issue. Lets get away from the blame and address the root of the problem. Recently there was a parent session on “bullying” held in the school district. Of the 12000 adults in town; of the 6000 parents in town, how many attended? This issue is a RCSD issue, a parent issue and a community issue and needs to be addressed and supported by the community for the sake of our children.

  9. I suppose one of the choices the school could have made in hindsight is to address FRESHMAN FRIDAY “dead on”, perhaps with a direct statement about consequences. I’m not sure this would have prevented anything? I guess we’ll never know.

    In my opinion, the intention of this “secret” (not so secret)tradition is about “soon to be seniors” seeking out “soon to be freshman”. It involves the school because the ritual is about an initiation between freshman and seniors. That is doesn’t occur during school hours is irrelevant in my opinion. The Principal of the Middle school warned kids to go directly home and stay inside.
    At least she did that.

    Ultimately how we raise our children is up to us as parents. kids live what they learn at home, they follow our actions not our words.

  10. Elizabeth, you raise a very good point that the school could have warned students of possible, or even likely consequences prior to Freshman Friday. And while the parents have major influence on the activities of their children, I don’t believe the bad choices these losers made can be wholly attributed to parenting techniques or lack of supervision. I have to believe that these 3 twits knew what they were doing was wrong – most likely, that’s what made it appealling to them.

    The public dissemination of the possible consequences prior to such acts would very likely make the activity a whole lot less appealling. Being kicked off a sports team, being required to perform 100 hours of community service cleaning out the town’s sewers, spending time in the big house… contemplating those activities as consequences would give any rational thinker pause.

    No matter what punishment they get, I hope they learn the invaluable lesson that actions have consequences. This won’t ruin their lives, but it should be a major speed bump on their road to Nirvana.

  11. Hey Need Change…today you wrote a post that started with “Hey Rob never said bullying was good never did I once say what happened was right…” You went on saying how” It’s horrible and needs to be addressed.”

    Then I find this post you made almost two years ago to the day!!!

    “This went on when i was in middle school and right up to when i was a senior and honestly it is nothing serious and just some fun. I think officials and some parents blow it out of proportion.

    Posted by: Need Change | June 04, 2010 at 03:19 AM ”


  12. Thank you, Matt Fahey, for responding. Just yesterday I said to someone I was waiting to read what you had to say.
    I will re-post what I wrote in 2010 about this disgusting practice. First though I’d like to respond to Jim Culyer.
    Jim, I don’t believe attendance at one of the numerous “parenting sessions” is necessarily an indication of concern. It can mean, among other things, that you have access to child care. I have a small library on the topic of bullying and the targeting of children who are “different”, yet I’ve never attended such a session. The School District’s responsibility is not abrogated by offering sessions such as this if the School District does not respond seriously to bullying among its students. In my experience – at Midland School only – it did not.

    Dismissing the attacks as happening off school grounds or after school hours is a cop-out as well. If the only link the children have is due to their mutual attendance at Rye Schools then the schools should respond. Likewise, if you are a parent and you’ve been told your child has been giving another child a hard time, and you don’t respond with immediate and significant loss of privileges, you too are responsible. Bullies on the playground at 6 or 7 can grow up to be arrested for assault 10 years later if adults don’t intervene.
    Yes, at 16 and 17 a child is responsible for his own behavior, but parents and schools can and should respond with something stern, perhaps along the lines of being benched or even left off the team. Or how about taking the car keys back? Quel dommage!

  13. To all you Dr. Shine supporters,

    ” If the unthinkable should happen and you child should be on the receiving end of a hazing incident, we strongly encourage you to contact the Rye Police and help them identify the perpetrators. Together we can put an end to this dangerous tradition.

    Have a safe weekend.


    Ann Edwards”

    This letter from the RMS Principal Dr. Ann Edwards was written before the assault took place!!!

    Now go read Dr. Shines statements in his umpteen letters and tell me how wrong I am!!!

  14. Bob, Matt and others – I come at this from a management angle. In my opinion, the parents of the perpetrators here are far, far from blameless. But under the logic I think you propose the community adopt (“I can’t see how anyone can blame the school system”) no one is ultimately ACCOUNTABLE for the MANAGEMENT of our school system including the safety of the children in it. Think about that.

    Harry Truman was mocked for having been a shoe salesman. Thus he put a singular sign on his Oval Office desk. What does the sign on Dr. Shine’s desk read?

    And perhaps Dr. Shine might want to reconsider some of his own newly proffered “facts” –
    “Some have suggested that these alleged acts are part of an annual ‘tradition’ at Rye High School. Let me be clear: just because a small handful of students choose to believe that this is the case, does not make it a fact. “

    First, does anyone believe these cruel acts are merely “alleged” anymore? Hospital admission and treatment records existed when he wrote that above statement.

    Second, there’s this letter Dr. Edwards (who I believe reports to Dr. Shine) sent to students and parents in JUNE OF 2010. (It’s on The Rye Record website currently.)

    “Dear Parents,
    Fear is in the air at Rye Middle School. There is a lot of chatter that June 4 is Freshman Friday, and eighth grade boys are fearful they are going to be attacked by balloons filled with Nair and have their bottoms smacked with paddles. It is hard to tell what is rumor and what is actually going to happen.
    For several years, an odious spring tradition has taken place in Rye: junior boys paddle eighth grade boys off school grounds. In recent years we have heard of fewer instances of paddling, but the practice has not been extinguished.
    Hazing is not tolerated in this community. The Rye Police Department will be on patrol tomorrow and will be on heightened alert all weekend. If you are the parent of an eighth grade boy, we suggest you encourage your son to keep a low profile this weekend. If the unthinkable should happen and you child should be on the receiving end of a hazing incident, we strongly encourage you to contact the Rye Police and help them identify the perpetrators. Together we can put an end to this dangerous tradition.
    Have a safe weekend.
    Ann Edwards”

  15. TedC – I think you miss my point. The responsibility of these acts lies squarely with the ones who did it. Unless the parents and/or Shine had 1) foreknowledge of their specific intentions, or 2) were present when it was happening, or 3) had encouraged such behavior in the past, you cannot lay blame with either the parent or the school administrator. By even suggesting they are complicit in this, you’re diluting the criminal behavior of the perpetrators. It is not a management issue – it is a criminal act foisted by one set of individuals onto another group. The blame lies squarely with the ones holding the 2×4.

    It did not happen on either the parents’ watch or Shine’s watch, so we cannot blame them for what happened. What we can do is hold the parents and Shine accountable for meting out a suitable form of punishment after the fact (above and beyond the legal costs these jerks will bear). The punishment should be enough to 1) serve as a warning to others, 2) extinguish any chance of any similar acts in the future from these individuals, and 3) serve as a reminder to these idiots that actions have consequences, so they will hopefully learn from this ghastly mistake. Who knows – they may even grow up enough to discourage others from following their example.

    If no such consequences are forthcoming from the parents or the school, then I’m right there with you in blaming both the parents and Dr. Shine – but only for their failure to act to reduce the likelihood of future events, not for their culpability in the actual attacks.

  16. Matt – as usual, you provide well-reasoned arguments. Typically I agree with you – the tree post is a classic in civics and I’m with you, there. Unfortunately, there’s a lot of distance between your and my assessment of the bullying / “hazing” and who bears responsibility.

    When it comes to children committing criminal acts, the children and their parents must both be held responsible. While I agree that it is unlikely that the children spoke with their parents before committing their crimes, that does not take away from the parent’s being responsible for their childrens’ offenses.

    Parents are responsible for the education of their children – both formal and informal. They may delegate formal education to the schools, but they retain responsibility for ensuring the children are placed in effective schools. They clearly cannot guarantee the outcome, but they should ensure the inputs are right.

    As far as informal education goes (how you treat others, respect for the law, etc.), parents teach their children what is acceptable civil behavior. The parent who drives through stop signs, does not leave a note when having damaged someone else’s car, bad mouths others at home, publicly berates a coach for not playing their child enough, etc., is teaching their children what is and is not acceptable behavior. An attempt to delegate this informal education through the use of round-the-clock nannies, baby-sitters, or self-education through simple absence does not remove the parent’s responsibility, although it probably lowers the likelihood of a successful “education”.

    Now you could say the children who committed the assault and kidnapping are not children, but, at 16 and 17 years of age, adults. And in terms of the law, you’re probably right. But they are still children as they are dependent on their parents for the roof over their heads, the clothes on their backs, the food in their bellies, and their on-going education. They may [hope to] be going off to college soon, but their parental dependencies makes them children.

    The children and parents must both be held accountable so that they as individuals do not repeat the heinous acts of last Friday. But more importantly, they both must be held accountable as a message to others – both children and parents – that brutalizing others is not acceptable to us as a community. It is up to all of us (yes, joint accountability) to maintain Rye as civil society.

  17. Avg.,

    Do I single out Dr. Shine for this exact incident….no!
    Do I believe he alone could have put an end to this long ago…YES, and that is what I believe Ted was trying to get across!

    This is so bad all the way around it’s damn scary!!!
    One of the children hurt badly was a very close friend of my daughter’s, she is devastated and concerned for her friend. Her other close friend decided to step forward and be a witness, guess what, she is recieving threats from upper classman…. A 13YR OLD RECEIVING THREATS!!!
    You should see some of the vulger & scary crap this kid is receiving.

    This is much worse and more than just a paddle slap.
    Dr. Shine is FULL OF S***….and after what I have just been put through for the last 6 years I am in no mood for more of the political BS!!!

    I am tired of seeing his letters of concern and opinion, please just retire already and go on your way!!!

    This is much deeper than the kids directly involved, yes it will affect them the most but it goes way beyond them!!!

  18. To All,

    I pulled this from the Rye Patch blog……
    “Kim milo
    10:56 pm on Wednesday, June 6, 2012

    FYI! I heard that the ANIMALS that did this were not only allowed to be back in school after they were arrested, but also were allowed to attend a football dinner! WAY TO GO! To the high school principal! I hope the victims parents teach him a lesson!!!!!”

    If this is true, well there you have it…..if true you can expect NO CHANGE in the future….SHAME on the MEYERSON’S, SCRAGG’S, & PINSON’S…and GREAT SHAME to the RCSD, DR. SHINE & his PRINCIPAL!!!


  19. For clarity, Charmian, please read my entire comment. The point of my comments were: “This issue is a RCSD issue, a parent issue and a community issue and needs to be addressed and supported by the community for the sake of our children.” and there are a number of things that can be done, and Yes not everyone can attend a Topic Discussion at the school district, but a bigger effort is required.


    LausDeo was on the scene the other night at the Rye City Planning Commission meeting about the proposed Rye hotel. There’s apparently new video to come but those of us who’ve been here a long time well remember this chilling student abduction and death. Here’s some food for thought for parents who are concerned about abductions and assaults. It still gives me chills.


  21. Good point Anne. But it might not be too much different. It is; after all, open to the general public 24/7/365.

    I’d say Courtyard Marriott has a pretty good “name” in the hotel business. LD10580 just posted the Freedom of Information Law request police statistics for their local Midland Avenue property to the LD web site. You can click a link and see them –


  22. @Jim Culyer – as you re-state your comments, I tend to agree with you. A bigger effort is certainly required. As the parent of a child who was the target of attacks by “popular” boys in Kindergarten ( yes, sadly, Kindergarten ) “good kids” all, or so I was told by the teachers and administrators who defended them, I am heartened by the better late than never response to this sub culture in Rye.
    One point, however, Jim. I read your entire comment. I would never respond without reading the entire comment, and most likely reading it more than once.

  23. Hey Jay! MyRye.com Gets A Shout Out in Today’s Lead Lohud Editorial!

    Editorial: Silence feeds into hazing

    June 7, 2012 – Editorial – The Journal News

    Disturbing enough are the reported assault on Rye Middle School eighth-graders — a so-called “hazing” — and subsequent charges against three Rye High juniors that include assault and unlawful imprisonment. More shocking are reports from the community and by Westchester County officials that this has become a “ritual,” occurring year after year.

    This year’s arrests came after a parent brought one of the battered and bruised eighth-graders to a local hospital for treatment. Rye police and school officials, though, have confronted the hazing problem before, apparently to no avail. In a 2010 letter to parents posted on http://myrye.com, Rye Middle School Principal Ann Edwards warns of expected “hazing” and seeks parents’ help: “If you are the parent of an eighth grade boy, we suggest you encourage your son to keep a low profile this weekend. If the unthinkable should happen and you(r) child should be on the receiving end of a hazing incident, we strongly encourage you to contact the Rye Police and help them identify the perpetrators. Together we can put an end to this dangerous tradition.”

    According to reports by police and school officials, the Rye hazing incident occurred June 1 afternoon at the Village Green, where eighth-graders were forced into a car and transported to the Marshland Conservancy, which is owned by Westchester County. There, officials said, the youngsters were “paddled” or more accurately beaten raw, with a piece of wood. The boy taken to the hospital had bruising on his buttocks and legs.

    Violence and silence

    Hazing is a subset of bullying. While bullying aims to exclude, hazing is used as an initiation for membership into a club, school or organization. It is, in effect, organized bullying. Both are fed by silence — by victims, by witnesses — and perpetuated by secrecy. How does such a violent act get repeated year after year, in an upscale community that touts its high school as among the top 100 in the nation and salutes its middle school’s prestigious Blue Ribbon School of Excellence status?

    How can such blatant violence be couched as “tradition” and how could it be met with silence from students and parents? The cost of silence was made clear with the death of Rutgers University freshman Tyler Clementi, who jumped off the George Washington Bridge after discovering his roommate Dharun Ravi had tweeted, texted and webstreamed his romantic encounter with another man — for all to see. Yet those who saw apparently did nothing to stop such a blatant invasion or privacy. Ravi was convicted on 15 charges, including bias intimidation. During his pre-sentencing hearing, Tyler’s mother, Jane Clementi, asked why no one in his dorm spoke up for Tyler. “How could they all go along with such meanness?” she asked.

    A hazing death

    The dangers of hazing and bullying have been made clear. Also recently, 13 Texas A&M students face felony charges following the death of the band’s drum major, who was severely beaten during a hazing ritual; Robert Champion died from the multiple blows he suffered . The death in November led to soul searching — including among nonparticipants and witnesses — about the band’s unsanctioned tradition of hazing. Indeed, when it comes to bullying — even group incidents couched as “tradition” — the bystander is not blameless or innocent.
    Rye city Schools Superintendent Edward Shine posted a “Critical Message to Parents” on the district’s website Tuesday. He wrote: “Some have suggested that these alleged acts are part of an annual ‘tradition’ at Rye High School. Let me be clear: just because a small handful of students choose to believe that this is the case, does not make it a fact.”

    Now, three high school juniors face felony charges of second-degree assault and misdemeanor counts of first-degree hazing and second-degree unlawful imprisonment. Along with the entire school community, they are learning the hard way that this dangerous and idiotic “tradition” must end.

  24. Ted,

    “How does such a violent act get repeated year after year, in an upscale community that touts its high school as among the top 100 in the nation and salutes its middle school’s prestigious Blue Ribbon School of Excellence status”?

    Ted, you have answered your own question….”Blue Ribbon School of Excellence STATUS”!!!

    Officials ACROSS THE BOARD in Rye claim til they are blue in the face that “safety” is a number one priority…..BULLS***!!!

    Our Superintendent of Schools Dr. Shine boasts “I have been coming to these meetings for 16 years now and for all 16 years “crossing guards and the lack there of have been a topic”

    The priority around here is ENTITLEMENT & PROPERTY VALUES!!!

    It took 6 years to install Stop Signs where one child was tragically killed and another nearly killed…..
    Yet we outlaw plastic bags in just 60 days???????

    There are still NO CROSSING GUARDS at the RMS & RHS crossings for afternoon dismissal!

    Still to this very moment Bikers in packs of 30 traveling at high speeds are allowed to break every law known to man kind!!!

    Speeding is condoned rather than the SPEED LIMIT be ENFORCED!!!
    Not excluding in the School Zones!

    Texting & Talking on your cell phone while driving is forgiven!

    Making an illegal left turn out of the RHS parking lot is NEVER ENFORCED!

    I know I am repeating this once again but what happened to these Freshman this year was not HAZING!

    This has been allowed to go on for years because no one up til now has been seriously injured.

    This City, all it’s Officials & Adults have a choice…..they can drop all the phony Suzanna Keith personality non-sense and help prevent families like mine from living the unthinkable or live it with me one day!!!

    Bob Zahm said…”It is up to all of us (yes, joint accountability) to maintain Rye as civil society”.

    Bob and I share the same opinion, only I choose to be more direct, lol!


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