Don’t let anyone fool you. The alleged Pottsville hazing incident is not an isolated football thing.
This speaks to the culture at Pottsville Area School District. It’s a win-at-all-costs mentality. Players and coaches are protected.
And in this case, the most vulnerable among us are at risk of harm.
Here’s where the Pottsville hazing incident stands now:
- At least two school district employees are reportedly currently on administrative leave.
- One of the students alleged to be involved in the incident has a lawsuit filed on his behalf against the school district
- Pottsville Area School District says it’s investigating the alleged incident in-house
Here’s What Pottsville Schools Want You to Believe:
- This was just an isolated incident on the football team.
- They’re equipped to investigate their own.
Both of those are untrue.
First, this is a matter for authorities. Students are alleged to have sexually assaulted a mentally challenged adult man. No school anything is qualified to investigate such a matter.
And, while this did allegedly occur during the football season, it’s not just a football incident.
When you possess a win-first mentality, you don’t suddenly stop that thinking. You can’t ignore it. This mentality is leading to school officials insisting this is a football incident, alone.
Not a Football Incident
Well, let’s look at that first.
At least two of the students play both sports.
Two of the coaches coach both sports.
One of these coaches — who is NOT on administrative leave — is also listed as a special education teacher for Pottsville Area.
The Athletic Director has charge over all the sports in the school.
It’s alleged this incident is no secret. People knew — or at least heard something happened — and did nothing.
Like was said yesterday, either this was the best kept secret in the history of small-town secrets, or people knew and did nothing.
To believe it as Pottsville is laying out here: This happened and only the people there knew about it. They told no one.
Since the incident, with no one apparently knowing a thing about this, the players involved kept playing. The coaches kept coaching.
The football season ended and the basketball season starts. Many of the players and coaches (who allegedly didn’t know about it) and athletic director trade one uniform for another, including the alleged victim!
Not once does someone say, “This isn’t right. These kids should not be playing right now (at least until we resolve this).”
Why? Win first, justice second.
The Pottsville Hazing Cover-up Comes Undone
Sure, the football team did a good job of keeping this somewhat quiet from the public.
But let’s look at the timing of the most recent events. This is where we see how un-adult-like the so-called leaders are at Pottsville Area School District. And this is where the school district’s story falls apart rather quickly.
There’s another motivation here and it’s not football-related. It’s basketball.
At least someone at the school knew about this. Safe to say, there were enough “adults” close to the original incident that someone was obligated to come forward before the start of the basketball season — really, during the football season when it happened — and say, “We can’t ignore this.”
Remember, this is a school official’s duty.
But it didn’t happen like that. The basketball season nearly ended before this story broke.
It wasn’t until right before the weather-delayed Schuylkill League basketball playoffs started that noise was being made.
And it was at that time, the school apparently suspended the students involved, including a player noticeably absent from the Pottsville lineup for the semifinal game against Mahanoy Area on Feb. 15.
Check out this tweet posted during the game as one fan noticed a chant among Pottsville Area fans:
“Free Schenk” is some of the biggest bullshit I’ve ever heard. Kid shouldn’t even be allowed back in school and people are acting like that shits funny?? Must have something to do with where you come from…
— Dylan Reber (@ReberDylan) February 16, 2019
It should be noted that during this Twitter exchange, an account purporting to be linked to the Pottsville Area Student Section (a fan group) made its voice heard.
The suspension of the students reportedly is 10 days. Do the math and that ends this Sunday, a day before the first game of the District XI basketball tournament, in which Pottsville is favored to win.
Clever, if you’re a win-at-all-costs kind of person.
If Pottsville lost either of the games these players sat out for, it wasn’t the end of their world. The “most important” thing was to get at least the one player back for the District playoffs.
During this suspension, the school did not publicly say it was investigating an incident. No one even said why this one player was absent from the lineup. Presumably, no one asked?
The school seems like it was hoping the suspension would come and go and everyone would get back to their normal lives. No one said a word about an investigation until the story was leaked to the press.
No one was on administrative leave after the student suspensions were handed down, either. This all started happening after the “investigation” was launched.
The Real Victims
The real victims here, outside of the actual victim of the alleged assault, are the special needs students currently at Pottsville. Really, all the students.
Who is protecting them? If another student assaults them, will their suffering be handled the same way? Who else will the school try to protect? And if this was your child on either side of this incident, would they get the same treatment?
Even though the alleged victim’s family is said to be trying to come to a positive solution to this situation — another suggestion this is more than an alleged incident — you can not ignore the future implications.
(Correction: Originally, we reported that tweets from a Pottsville Area student section have been deleted. It was another account we looked at and we were wrong. The tweets originally referenced are still on the social site. They SHOULD have been deleted.)