Tamaqua Area school board president Larry Wittig revealed Tuesday morning that the district is investigating a “hazing incident” among its football team.
Wittig reached out to The Canary with the hope of getting ahead of online rumors. Those rumors have tried to tie last week’s forfeit of a playoff football game to a COVID outbreak or other speculative reasons.
On Monday, school Superintendent Raymond Kinder revealed simply in a statement that an “incident” happened and that the school was working with Tamaqua police to determine what exactly happened. Kinder also referred to the incident as a “student disciplinary matter” in his statement.
Wittig Describes Tamaqua Football “Incident” as “Hazing”
Wittig tells The Canary he wanted to provide a few more details to quell as many rumors as possible, well aware that many have already been spreading wildly online and throughout the Tamaqua Area community.
“There was a hazing incident,” Wittig says, noting that he’s calling it a “hazing” for lack of a better word. He says that he can’t go into details about what exactly happened due to it being an ongoing investigation and the fact that minors are involved.
He says the alleged incident happened last Thursday, Nov. 4, and that by the end of that night, the school district and the police were already involved.
He also says he wants to assure the public that Tamaqua will not “brush it under the rug” with regard to what happened.
“Wherever the facts go, that’s where we’re going,” Wittig says. “The district is going to push this as far as we can. We’re not hiding anything. The district is not going to whitewash this. We are going to address this head-on.”
He explains that the investigation will not be limited to just students involved in the alleged “hazing” incident and that the school is open to the idea that an investigation could reveal other incidents that have happened in the past.
“If any coaches knew about it, they’ll be gone,” Wittig adds. “We are going to treat anyone who knew about it the same.”
However, Wittig believes what allegedly happened last week is not “systemic” and not part of some ritual among football teams at the school. And, as of now in the investigation, the “hazing” incident has been “confined to the football team.”
Wittig also says that the football team has conducted a meeting and reveals that the team’s head coach is “mortified” by the allegations.