The man who says he’s the father of the victim of the Nov. 4 “hazing” incident among members of the Tamaqua Area high school football team urged his fellow parents and concerned citizens to “slow down” and trust the process as an investigation unfolds.
He was responding to accusations made Tuesday night during a regular meeting of the Tamaqua Area school board and ones he’s read online. The meeting was the first time the public had a chance to formally address the school board and Tamaqua Area administration since the hazing incident happened. But in the 10 days since, ample rumors abound on social media as to what happened.
Some of the posts we’ve seen in numerous threads on Facebook and Twitter have named names. Others have suggested they’re aware of what happened. And many believe using the term “hazing” is inappropriate in this instance.
On Tuesday night, the school board did vote to expel one student linked to this incident and board president Larry Wittig – who first described the event to The Canary as a “hazing” – went a step further and said of the Nov. 4 incident, “This was way over the line (of hazing).”
Hazing Victim’s Father Urges Public to Trust Investigation Process
The father of the victim heard about a half-hour of his fellow parents offer their input and ask questions of the incident.
Some parents said their complaints of bullying have been ignored in the past at Tamaqua. And now they’re accusing the current school board and administration of a coverup with this most recent incident.
The victim’s father said otherwise on Tuesday.
“From the time I reported this incident, I’ve had nothing but support and absolute transparency flowing from that school board as to what is occurring,” he said. “I understand that people in this room are frustrated with things that they don’t feel were handled correctly before. I get that. Again, it’s been nothing but complete transparency from this school board. I was on the phone with a lot of them multiple times.”
The man said the last 10 days have been a “difficult time” for his son and himself.
He pushed back against accusations the school would work to cover up this incident involving the football team at Tamaqua.
“I trust this borough police department. I trust this school board. I trust these administrators. The lines of communication have been open. They’re going to make sure this isn’t swept under the rug and the kids responsible are held accountable,” he added.
Further, the father addressed the umpteen rumors and falsehoods spread on social media about the incident. He urged people to “slow down.”
“Everybody needs to slow down for a second. This is a lengthy process,” he said. “This isn’t a Dateline where it’s going to be solved in an hour TV special. This is going to take some time. Please let these folks do their jobs. Let the police department do their job.
“The last thing I want is for those responsible not held accountable because there’s a rush to judgement before an entire investigation could be completed.”
“The punishment will fit the offenses.”
While one student has already been expelled, Tamaqua is continuing with its investigation into the incident. “Several” students have been suspended for 10 days from school after they were identified as being connected to the incident.
Wittig told the public on Tuesday, “If this board would perceive the administration sweeping things under the carpet, we are very hostile to that, perhaps more so than you folks. We will not tolerate sweeping things under the rug.
“We are dealing with this judiciously, expeditiously and there will be justice according to the procedures set out by the Department (of Education), Tamaqua School District, and there’s a legal perspective of this that we’re not able to share with anybody,” Wittig added. “But trust me when I say, it will be taken to the nth degree, as far as we can go. The punishment will fit the offenses.”
(Editor note: Although The Canary did confirm the identity of the man in this story, we’re choosing not to release his name at this time.)
- “Several” Tamaqua Students Suspended Amid “Hazing” Investigation
- Tamaqua Board President Reveals “Hazing Incident” Happened, School Won’t “Brush It Under the Rug”
- Tamaqua Superintendent Releases Statement on Football Team “Incident”