This Friday, May 31st is part of a long sick "tradition" in Rye City schools called "Freshman Friday" where 8th graders are targeted by 11th graders for "paddling" or other types of hazing. Last year, Rye City was rocked when victims were hazed so badly some wound up hospitalized. In the wake of it all, three students were arrested and some (not all) called for action.
On Thursday, Rye City Schools sent the following notice. Watch for a heavy police presence and if you see something, say something… Let's see if we can do better this year.
What do you think? Leave a comment below.
May 30, 2013
Dear Middle and High School Parents:
Last June, a hazing incident brought much attention to the community. Local and regional press carried the story; community dissension surfaced between those who viewed it as a right of passage and those who were outraged; students faced legal consequences; and, more importantly, victimized students were physically injured and emotionally scarred. It is critically important that we stand together as a community to protect our students both from hazing as well as from making poor choices.
I am proud to report that our schools implemented a number of programs and activities this year to address this concern, including a new Culture of Caring goal to promote respect and civility, specialized training for coaches, statement of assurances required of student athletes and an increased emphasis on social responsibility programs at all schools. We have partnered with community groups such as the Rye Youth Council, whose work has led to a community-wide civility statement. The Rye Police Department has provided guidance and assistance throughout the year and is stepping up their presence during this time of year.
Schools implemented the Dignity for All Students Act (DASA) in compliance with New York State Education Department guidelines. In brief DASA requires all schools to provide students with a safe and supportive environment free from discrimination, intimidation, taunting, harassment and bullying. Our Code of Conduct was revised to reflect the new changes in law.
As parents, you play an important role. Please take time in the next several days to discuss this issue with your child(ren). Students who feel vulnerable should be encouraged to share their concerns with a faculty member. Any student who engages in hazing behavior will be suspended from school and barred from future athletic and student activities.
Thank you in advance for your cooperation. We hope that by working together we can ensure a safe and positive ending to the school year.
Frank R. Alvarez
Superintendent of Schools