It is time that school districts take preventative actions to educate its faculty and students on the repercussions of bullying and hazing. This incident is a severe case that has thrown a whole town into turmoil and potentially ruined careers and educational futures. As I have stated numerous times prior to this posting, school districts must do more to protect students from bullying and their faculty from potential legal and civil liabilities. The answer is simple-TRAIN YOUR STAFF AND STUDENTS. This is just another case of districts putting their checkbooks before the well being of the students and faculty.
The Bristol County District Attorney’s office has convened a grand jury to investigate the alleged hazing of Andover High School basketball players who attended a summer camp at Stonehill College in Easton, sources confirmed.
School employees, including David Fazio, Andover High basketball coach and a physical education teacher, have been issued subpoenas to testify so far, the sources said yesterday.
Fazio was placed on paid administrative leave Friday while police investigate allegations that two students were forced by upperclassmen to play a humiliating sex game while attending the summer camp in July.
Meanwhile, an Andover High basketball player accused of leading the hazing of the two younger students was suspended for 10 days and his lawyer now expects school officials to expel him.
Attorney Arthur Broadhurst said the student was suspended from both academics and the basketball team for 10 days, a decision he will not fight.
The district intends to expel Broadhurst’s client and a fellow ringleader, as well as suspend five other Andover High students who attended Hoop Mountain basketball camp in July.
At Hoop Mountain, held on the Stonehill College campus, two underclassmen were allegedly pressured into playing a sex game, “wet biscuit,” where the loser had to eat a semen-covered cookie.
Broadhurst would not say if his client will fight the expulsion, citing ongoing criminal investigations by the Easton Police Department and Bristol County District Attorney’s office.
Attorneys for other students involved could not be reached for comment yesterday.
On Friday, during disciplinary hearings at Andover High, students pleaded their cases with school officials for their roles in the hazing scandal. School officials would not disclose the outcome of the hearings for the seven students involved. Attempts to reach Superintendent Marinel McGrath for comment were unsuccessful yesterday.
Broadhurt’s client is also the administrator of a secret Facebook page called “Andover Basketball,” where he and others complained about the police investigation, planned a meeting and vowed to “fix” the situation.
The Eagle-Tribune anonymously received a screenshot of the secret Facebook page last week, which Easton police then asked for.
At Andover High, students facing expulsion or suspension are entitled to hearings where they can question witnesses and present evidence in their defense, according to the schools’ disciplinary policy. The can also appeal the disciplinary action of the superintendent.
If any of the students are criminally charged with hazing, they could face up to a year in jail and a $3,000 fine. Anyone who witnesses hazing but does not report it faces a $1,000 fine if convicted under state law.
As a result of the hazing, Stonehill College terminated its agreement with Hoop Mountain, which will no longer be allowed on campus.
Fazio still holds the title of head coach of the basketball team, Chris Bergeron, Andover High athletic director, said Monday night.