A hazing incident at Central Bucks West high school in Pennsylvania has resulted in the remainder of the football season being put on hiatus. Disturbing claims of teen players getting waterboarded and touched inappropriately by older students are part of the hazing rituals alleged to have occurred this semester. Philly News reported this Friday, October 24, 2014, that an investigation is being conducted regarding the “failure” of some sports officials and coaches not properly overseeing their athletes.
In a case that is already causing a national online buzz, a Central Bucks West hazing press release has led to the school’s decision that no football season continue until answers are found. Instances of waterboarding and “crotch-grabbing” taking place in the Doylestown high school have been relayed to the local police department. The Central Bucks School District Superintendent, David Weitzel, has since said the players will not participate any further in athletics this fall, and that the final two football games have been cancelled.
As part of the pending investigation, sports staff and some coaches for the junior varsity teams at the high school have been suspended. A statement cited the cause being “a failure of the coaching [officials] to properly supervise athlete activities.”
Before media outlets began reporting on the hazing allegations, parents of teen players were given a formal letter from Central Bucks West to keep them aware of the case. Apparently, some students had come forward saying that new players on the football team were being forced to touch other student athletes inappropriately — namely having contact with their private parts while still clothed. Rumors of waterboarding were also cited. According to Weitzel, a majority of players participated in this “initiation,” which the superintendent said was both “offensive and disrespectful.”
Part of the blame, the education leader continued, is on the older players and coaches who may have observed these forms of hazing but did nothing to stop such activities. Greater supervision should have been implemented to end the inappropriate conduct immediately.
“Swift and firm action is absolutely necessary,” concluded Weitzel in his message.
Yet News Oxy shares that there are quite a few individuals defending these staff members in the Central Bucks West hazing allegations. A former head football coach, Mike Pettine Sr., said that he believes that all staff and coaches at the high school are “good men” that care about their student athletes. He asserts they would never have allowed such activities had they known about them.
“I know a lot of the coaches and they are good men,” he said. “I’m confident that in no way shape or form that they condoned this or knew what was going on.”
Similar reports of waterboarding were described by some unnamed students, but a local Doylestown police chief, James Donnelly, said that these claims of hazing appeared to be less serious. However, they still required official investigation. What may actually be happening are football players being made to stand under cold showers with towels covering their faces, he noted.
Regardless, the matters mentioned in the superintendent’s warning letter to parents need to be addressed as soon as possible, said the police chief. These high school players should not be forced to endure any inappropriate touching, waterboarding, or other acts of hazing. At this time, ending the football season early may be the right step.
“The letter was pretty damning and contains some pretty scary information,” he added. “We don’t know if it was just kids horsing around or if it was more serious, but we’re going to investigate.”
Law enforcement officials are said to have been in contact with the District Attorney for Bucks County in getting to the bottom of the Central Bucks West hazing allegations, and the two parties are willing to work together more closely if necessary. With football being a popular sport at the Pennsylvania high school and the program being deemed a strong one, this case involving teen players is being taken very seriously.