Posted by on March 9, 2019 12:00 pm

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Categories: Local News Pottsville News

TLDR (Too Long, Didn’t Read):

  • Pottsville school officials trying to separate themselves from the public.
  • Incident exposes the problems of nepotism at the school.
  • Tide basketball shouldn’t have allowed suspended student to rejoin team last night.
  • School officials at Pottsville aren’t qualified to lead, conspired to cover up serious bullying incident.
  • Pottsville admits something happened by enforcing suspensions to the end, suspending school administration.

The Pottsville boys basketball team opened the PIAA state playoffs with a win on Friday night.

But at the same time, the community lost.

Don’t worry; this isn’t your Tide team. It’s theirs.

The so-called hazing incident is only getting worse.

How? On Friday, one of the students suspended for that “hazing” incident returned to the basketball court. He missed the Schuylkill League and District 11 playoffs before this while serving his out-of-school suspension.

That’s because a week ago, the Pottsville Area School District announced it concluded its investigation. And when the suspensions against the students were complete, they could return to school as though none of it happened.

Pottsville Controls the Story But Can’t Control the Kids

By controlling this outcome the way it did — keeping it in-house — Pottsville gets to control the story.

Now, what was accused in that anonymous letter isn’t “the facts”. Why? Because Pottsville says so.

And they’ll never say what happened.

The victim will never speak in this situation. He’s still part of the athletics department … around the same people!

THEY will say … it’s not “like none of it happened”. The students served the suspension. We bet you’ll hear that counseling or some other type of sensitivity training is involved. It’ll probably be something you’ll pay for, whatever THEY decide.

We’re at this point because the parents of the victim wanted to seek a “positive” outcome for everyone involved. While that’s fine inside their little circle of friends — including among the most “powerful” at the schools — this is a public school. And the public has its own rules and its own set of outcomes. These are rules others must live by. These are the rules that your kids need to follow.

And you know they don’t have the same luxury that the students involved in this hazing (not a hazing) incident have been afforded. And it just doesn’t work like that.

Where would your kid be right now if there was even a hint of accusation like this against them?

The school is separating itself and this incident from the rest of us.

This is THEIR school, not yours. This is THEIR football team and THEIR basketball team, not yours. They want you to show up and cheer THEM on. Are THEY the best representation of the Pottsville community?

Time to Drain the Swamp at Pottsville Area School District

This “hazing” incident exposed Pottsville’s biggest problem(s). A complete lack of leadership and accountability. And every minute these students log on the court or field, every minute more these “leaders” “inspire” your children, the problem gets worse.

Conspiring to Cover Up a Sexual Assault, Not a “Hazing”

No one has learned anything here. They ALMOST learned how to get away with it.

The hazing was no secret. Rather than leading and setting a positive example, untold “leaders” at Pottsville Area School District — both those employed by the District directly on a full-time basis and those others lurking in the halls for athletics reasons only — conspired to cover this up and protect their own.

By enforcing the suspension, the school admits something DID happen. Otherwise, why suspend the students?

Something clearly did happen. Otherwise, why put two “leaders” in the school on administrative leave? That’s Eric Rismiller, the school’s athletic director, and Rusty Yost, a football coach and Dean of Students at the high school.

A source close to the situation tells Coal Region Canary that someone came to Rismiller with news of this “hazing” incident. Rismiller points to Yost to investigate. He comes back to the Athletic Director saying there’s a problem. Let’s call it a conflict-of-interest.

And from then on, presumably, the cover-up was on. Actually, it was on when any other students who didn’t participate in the heinous act accused in that anonymous letter didn’t say something. But they’re KIDS. They’re supposed to make those bad decisions. Once an adult finds out, it’s on them to do something about it.

And by do something, it doesn’t mean keep it quiet. Either they’re really good at keeping a big secret or they’re really good at getting everyone’s story straight.

But from that point on, and from when everyone else learned of it and did nothing … what a shame.

Every time they looked at the victim and they looked at the people who did what they did to him … not a peep.

It’s one thing to keep quiet about some things you see. Petty stuff.

But this? If you think it makes an episode of SVU … you say something. You don’t wait. Not today. Not when you let people call you a leader or you call yourself a leader.

Punish It? Pottsville Celebrates It

Earlier, the Canary presumed the timing of the suspensions of these students was conveniently wrapped around the timing of the basketball playoffs. We may have missed exactly what playoffs but we still think this came out when it did so it didn’t upset the timing of the basketball playoffs.

One of the students suspended for his role in the incident certainly thinks so. Although, we still can’t understand the lawsuit “K.S.” filed against the school. Don’t they realize the school kept it quiet for so long for their benefit?

Or do they really take that “permanent record” stuff seriously?

Pottsville looked at this situation as a chance to get this “out in the open” once and for all. Crazy how the investigation into this big secret — among a team with “a lot of players” according to the superintendent — got wrapped up so quickly. Incredible on the surface, but easy when the result is pre-determined. A total farce.

Since they won’t say what the investigation revealed, we just assume they used that down time to get the story straight for the school board meeting.

Pottsville was able to keep it quiet through the remainder of the football season and most of the basketball season. And when they had to deal with it, they artfully weaved this around the schedule so as not to throw off their chance at states.

Identifying the Swamp Creatures

At the most recent Pottsville Area school board meeting, the President of the board, Rismiller’s sister, did not go in for an executive session of the board. That’s a time when board members typically discuss personnel matters out of the public eye. You don’t need Encyclopedia Brown to figure out they were talking about her husband in there.

If the president of the school board can’t participate in an investigation of this gravity, what’s the point of being there?

An Athletic Director’s job is not to direct the narrative of a cover-up.

The other member of the school administration who was put on administrative leave DID actually come back and report what he found. Credit that. That’s a tough pill to swallow. But then don’t watch the people around you protect them. Do the right thing.

At some point, word of this incident gets around. According to that anonymous letter — probably the most credible piece of evidence in this investigation outside of a fearless eyewitness — a lot more people than just these two school administration officials knew about it.

And this went from one season to the next. No, this isn’t just a football incident. This is a school incident. It was a football incident and should have stayed a football incident.

But when basketball season started, and some of the same coaches and all the people involved in the incident switched uniforms, it became a basketball incident. Why? No one did the right thing.

And to suggest that maybe some of them didn’t know until basketball season, consider that all these people work together every day. Schools are active rumor mills but rumors like this don’t float around every day.

Remember, they want you to believe this is just about them. They’ll handle it and make sure everyone learns their lesson. The 10-day suspension is your red meat. It’s their proof to you that they did something about it.

Rather than doing the right thing and telling these students their playing days were over, they ignored that and said, Roll Tide.

ALSO READ …

25 responses to Pottsville Hazing Incident Only Gets Worse As School Celebrates

  1. Shelly March 11th, 2019 at 6:00 pm

    I still cannot understand why the state board of education did not get involved in this terrible crime. Yes, this is a crime. Why hasn’tany local news station or the associated press gotten wind of this story! And really, this boy is back around these thugs. What is wrong with this world!

    Reply

    • Bill March 12th, 2019 at 9:22 pm

      Maybe the board of education isn’t aware of it. The Skook is rampant with corruption.
      Perhaps someone should make them aware. Some pottsville parents must have heard something from their kids.

      Reply

  2. Henry March 12th, 2019 at 10:57 pm

    This is absolute fake news and this situation was not “hazing” or “sexual assault”. Get your facts straight before you post on this bullshit website. This website should get shut down. The writer should be ashamed of themselves.

    Reply

    • admin March 13th, 2019 at 12:03 am

      Almost everything we’ve published about this incident has already been published on other sites and behind pay walls. Do you know the facts? Share them, please. There are about 5,000 taxpaying families in the PASD that would love to hear the “facts” you have on it. Also, suggesting news sites or any sites in general should get shut down simply because you don’t like what’s on there shrieks of fascism. Thanks for reading.

      Reply

  3. Ashamed Pottsville parent March 14th, 2019 at 8:56 am

    I know the facts Henry because my son plays for the team. These articles are spot on I commend the admin.

    Let me add to the story more facts. I find it remarkable that these two kids only got ten days out of school when two years ago two kids who were nobody’s (parents aren’t well off and thier dad isn’t a coach) were given ten days out of school and kicked off the team for thier sophomore season for similar hazing incident of a child in the locker room. Yes they are part of the current junior class.

    The unfortunate thing is now a head coach rightfully so lost his job because he tried to be friends with these kids and they took advantage of the situation. The extremely unfortunate thing is they have not learned from their actions. Now it is everyone elses fault thier head coach lost his position. Some of these kids were undisciplined on and off the field and if you attended any games you seen that first hand from the actual correctly accused actors in said incident.

    Again it is an unfortunate incident that must be taken care of properly regardless of who the kids were. I just hope it’s not done. The academic advisor should be gone and the kids who did this stuff should not be able to play thier senior season.

    These are the facts people and I applaud coal region canary for reporting the facts.

    Reply

    • Mark March 14th, 2019 at 9:25 am

      Well said!

      Reply

  4. Pottsville Parent March 14th, 2019 at 9:10 am

    The reason rusty covered it up is because his conflict of interest (edited). Everyone is now coming out smelling like roses. I will also gaurentee you that Mr. Yost will put in for the head coaching job and get it because nobody knows the real facts. Very Dispicable if you ask me.

    I prefer to remain anonymous because my son plays on the team but my previous message and this message are facts.

    Reply

    • admin March 14th, 2019 at 10:01 am

      Keeping minors names out of this who haven’t become a public figure (lawsuit against school). Appreciate the comments, just need to tread a line here.

      Reply

  5. Football Player March 15th, 2019 at 8:14 am

    The bias in all of these articles about the “incident” are insane

    Reply

  6. Diane Squyres March 15th, 2019 at 8:15 am

    Children are sent to school by parents, it’s to be a SAFE PLACE. Unfortunately, one child’s torture and safety is deemed “not” a priority. I am certain there are more children who don’t speak up. Why? Look what happens. If I had children in this school, I would remove them. It is not safe.

    Reply

  7. Player March 15th, 2019 at 10:16 am

    So are you saying it’s hazing or sexual assault because you change it all the time. You’re a loser that has a personal vendetta against certain people involved. as a player I now know what happened, no one was touched inappropriately and that’s facts. Do yourself a favor and go get a damn job instead of taking the time trying to make people look terrible in an unfortunate situation. Maybe attend a school board meeting to since you’re such an expert. You’re a damn joke.

    Reply

  8. Mynameis March 15th, 2019 at 10:25 am

    So sad and disgusted by the incident

    Reply

  9. Just the facts! March 15th, 2019 at 11:49 am

    @ Player I find it funny how you guys are all sticking up for the actions of a select few that have now tarnished you, this town, that uniform I paid for, and the great history of Pottsville that many people are proud of. Your parents are to blame because you are very undisciplined. I bet your one of those players that throw your helmet on the sidelines during the game and get unsportsman like conduct penalties for celebrating for every very few good plays you do. Obviously you won’t get the point because in your eyes and the rest of the teams eyes you did no wrong. You guys are the one to blame why your going to have a new head coach this upcoming season and I hope he won’t put up with your elementary school game antics. I am willing to bet your the kid who got kicked off the squad two seasons ago for sexually asulting the soccer player in the locker room. Be happy your weren’t expelled. You should all be happy of were you live that politics run rampid and you can get away with the nonsense you guys pull. Grow up because the real world isn’t as forgiving. My commendment to the admin for posting the real truth that obviously the spoiled and privilege of Pottsville can’t handle.

    Reply

  10. Sports parent March 15th, 2019 at 12:49 pm

    Agree. Real world doesn’t work this way. Hopefully the new coach has a backbone and can be a responsible adult leader for the players…

    Reply

  11. Football Player March 15th, 2019 at 12:56 pm

    I agree that if solid evidence is found that proves these things did happen, then all parties directly involved should be punished to the fullest extent. But in a situation like this, where word of mouth is the only thing to go off of, not much can be done. The whole team should not be attacked and discredited due to the actions of 2 players, same for the coaches. But the corrupt school board, that has been trying to push out McGeoy out for years, now have a “reason” to, even though he was not involved at all.

    Reply

  12. Keeping it real March 15th, 2019 at 3:01 pm

    Football player you call the school board currupt how so? They have done thier do diligence in waiting out the investigation to make a determination. The only thing I disagree with is Rismiller, Yost, and those two players involved should be gone.

    They only removed Mcgeoy from coaching were just so happens to be a position that requires you to make responsible decisions, which he did not. They have wanted to get rid of him for awhile due to his lack of success, which unfortunately is also a part of coaching.

    Stuff was going on and the captain of the ship didn’t nip it in the bud. Like your little slap fight sessions that nobody knows about and a player got 5 days off for organizing them, which you know he wasn’t the only one. Yeah the public doesn’t know about that how you guys had underclassmen or kids you didn’t like slap fight. Stop playing innocent, there are videos of it that prove it and can be sent out. Accept your punishment, dry your tears, and grow the hell up because next time who knows what could happen someone could up up in jail.

    How much has your coach done for you guys? He doesn’t take you guys to team camps in the summer, heck he doesn’t even go to Lauren’s first and goal with the team. Who has he helped get recruited into college? Nobody because he only cares about collecting that paycheck!! That’s the other half of being a high school coach also being an academic advisor and prepare you guys for the next level. Get schools in to look at you guys none of that happens. Your better off without this clown. He had no clue how to come up with a solid game plan, make halftime adjustments and was influenced to have kids playing in key positions that had no business being there. Not really a winning mentality in my book. This program needs someone like the head basketball coach who refuses to be influenced by outside sources.

    How many times did you see him on the sideline at a freshman game, or 7th and 8th grade game, or JV game? Never be didn’t even prepare or care for the future. He could care less about you kids so take the blinders off and don’t be a sheep like your buddies.

    Reply

  13. Bill March 15th, 2019 at 3:11 pm

    When you read these articles it seems that there are just as many opinions of the author as there are reported fact, if not more. Now that’s ok if the person is writing this as an opinion page instead of just news. It seems like it was written by a “journalist” from CNN

    Reply

    • admin March 15th, 2019 at 4:08 pm

      There are opinions wrapped around facts here, yes. CNN? They wouldn’t approve your comment.

      Reply

  14. Myrtle March 15th, 2019 at 6:03 pm

    There should have been an investigation, charges, and punishment. Not an in school investigation, but one by the state. Does Penn State ring a bell here? For the future of the school,and security of the students, INVESTIGATE!

    Reply

    • Roxanna D. March 15th, 2019 at 11:48 pm

      Isn’t it funny how different rules apply to different people? Business manager was not only fired but in PR every other day recapped the same story over & over again. Why? Because one of his employees made a clerical errror. This employee is still employed at district but her boss took the fall. Why? Because he did an honest job & tried to end the ongoing corruption (mold in high school covered up-different than middle school, maintenance guy making $200,000 purchase without board approval). Then district eluded to business manager stealing? News flash: they don’t give a financial settlement to someone who steals. Then the board prez at time breached the confidential agreement, he didn’t know it was confidential (DUH)! Makes sense why bonton is out of biz! So district had to pay out more $ to fired bus manager because John couldn’t keep his mouth shut. Also note scott that left town for unknown reason (don’t think it worked out with Minnie Mouse)? was given a promotion after he was able to secure a tax break for his employer. Now they’re looking for a new football Coach. What happened to the head guy taking the fall for mistakes his employees make? Not for Eric, protected by sis Karen (pres of board). People think they have the right to do as they please BUT karma will catch up to u. Every good thing will come to an end for evil. People need to pay attention, make your voice heard & put good honest people in charge. Keep in mind there are 2 new board members that want to clean up this swamp but they need support & others to get on board with them. THIS HAS TO END!!

      Reply

  15. Pottsville fan March 19th, 2019 at 12:51 am

    Mike stank has a personal vendetta with tom Mcgoey he’s friends with the writer of the anonymous letter who wrote the letter because he wants his kid to play quarterback. Well guess what if you ever seen his kid play quarterback you might go tell him to stop don’t embarrass yourself. Same guy who wrote anonymous letter wrote letter his daughters freshman year about her not playing basketball. Now as a school board member your job is to do what’s best for the school. So in that sense you do what’s best for the students. For all you people who care school board does not work for the tax payers they work for the students. Well when 30 students come in to try to save Mcgoey’s job you have mike stank not even paying attention to them and smiling as they are talking because he knows he got the vote. Now the reason he got the vote is this. He and Christina dicello were the only 2 in December that voted to get rid of tom, so they had to campaign now to get rid of him. Stank prob told Karen Rissmiller that the person who should be fired is eric and if she voted with him they can keep eric. Dicello also told a lie that the over 500 signatures on petition were signed but people did not know what they were signing for. This got pat Moran to flop to their side so now we have the vote at 4 to 5 so they need 1 more vote to swing. Davidson they were able to flop because he’s old and believes whatever he’s told by dicello who sits next to him. So now it’s 5 to 4. Ann Blankenhorn who at the athletic committee voted to keep tom but lost that vote 2 to 1 becuawe the althletic committee is made up of stank dicello and Blankenhorn.
    So Blankenhorn not having much of a backbone now knows the vote shifted and she doesn’t want to be the minority. So basically what I’m pointing out to you is school board is corrupt and what they did to Mcgoey was wrong.

    Reply

  16. Not a fan March 19th, 2019 at 12:02 pm

    What happened to mcgoey is right because what he allowed to happen and tried to ignore under his watch was wrong. Accept that!

    Reply

    • Mark March 19th, 2019 at 8:12 pm

      Not a fan is absolutely correct. However, there are 2 other people who should be dismissed but weren’t, the 2 people who supposedly investigated and tried to cover up.

      Reply

  17. Shelly March 21st, 2019 at 9:23 am

    I still do not understand why this admin does not contact newspapers & board of education so that there can be transparency.

    Reply

    • admin March 21st, 2019 at 7:07 pm

      Hard to buy and sell the news on this one.

      Reply

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