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Opinion: Standing up to hazing in Central Bucks

school bus new hope free pressBy Paul Faulkner

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)

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  • Oh Richard it’s so much worse than that!! Many of the victims were given silly haircuts. And others were subjected to the unspeakable torture of having wet towels draped over their heads.

  • Some kid was “forced” to grab another kid’s crotch over the pants. Now we have Paul Faulkner, as he’s sure to emphasize above “honored to serve as School Board President”, grandstanding on NH Free Press about “blatantly humiliating and intimidating activities”. Calm down dude. Initiation rites, hazing, is something that happens. The republic will survive. I’ve been there….football, fraternity, secret society. Politicians and a couple helicopter parents are in a tizzy and now the season is cancelled. Oh the horror. The….Horror. How ridiculous.

  • You did the right thing. Don’t let people that think football is more important than basic dignity tell you any different.

    There are too many places in this country where being a star high school football player gives you a pass to do appalling things to fellow students – witness Steubenville Ohio, and the parents, students, and community members that came out in support of the criminals there that ruined a girl’s life.

    Luckily Central Bucks hasn’t descended to anywhere near that level, but by tip toeing around it you’d have sent a message winning games is more important than being a decent human being, treating fellow classmates with respect.

    Good for you for doing the right thing.

  • this is unacceptable behavior in the workplace and its certainly unacceptable in schools. the board did exactly the right thing.

    that people put scholastic sports over the safety and reasonable behavior of their children is appalling. touchdowns are not more important than a safe and non-threatening environment.

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