President, Central Bucks School District Board of School Directors
I am the proud parent of two Central Bucks graduates who played team sports throughout high school, and a member of the School Board for nearly 14 years. I am also honored to serve as current School Board President.
Being a parent, in my opinion, is the toughest job any of us will ever hold, and one that comes with anextreme amount of responsibility and accountability. Some may view it as old fashioned, but I firmlybelieve that one of our primary roles as parents is to teach, starting at a very early age, right from wrong, instilling in our children a moral and ethical code rooted in basic human dignity and respect. Sadly, as evidenced through one incident after another across our country, the lines between what is socially acceptable, let alone tolerable, and inappropriate behavior are becoming increasingly blurred and potentially dangerous.
As parents, we cannot control media content – from violent and sexually exploitative video games to shock-and-awe reality cable programs. But I think we have an obligation to our children and our community to give them the vital tools – common sense included – to make good decisions. Starting at an early age and then continuing through high school and beyond, this will help them fully understand that bad decisions are often followed by negative consequences. By now, most members of our community are familiar with the hazing allegations and subsequent inquiry that caused the cancellation of the final two games of the Central Bucks West Football Team 2014 season.
Overlooked or lost in the conversations – many quite heated – about the conduct were the facts that numerous team members in confidential interviews admitted to participating in the blatantly humiliating and intimidating activities. Yet at our October 28th Board meeting, many players, parents, and coaches defiantly downplayed the hazing and, instead, blamed the Board and the Administration for ruining their season through what they’ve characterized as over-reacting. I could not disagree more.
Yes, there are times when good people – adults and kids alike – make poor decisions. I stated at the Board meeting that I do believe good young people behaved very poorly; and when faced with making good or bad decisions, they made very bad choices that could have had catastrophic consequences. As of this writing, I have yet to hear a single player, parent, or coach apologize to those that were subjected to hazing, which is what led to the suspension of the season and has stained the reputation of not only a storied football program but also an outstanding school district.
Hazing, intimidation, humiliation of any student, by anyone in any grade is not acceptable behavior, and it will not be tolerated. I am deeply saddened that this has occurred in my community and again offer my sincere apology to anyone who was harmed in any manner, directly or indirectly. And our Board, working together with the Administration and our entire community, pledges to re-double our stand against hazing and hate, because it has no place in the Central Bucks School District.
(The opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the positions of the Free Press)