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Absolutely unacceptable explanation from Willard Local Schools administrators

Opinion from the moderator: for years and years, colleges covered up hazing incidents by using the euphemism horseplay.  Now Willard Local Schools administrators are using the same term and refusing to release the specifics of the case. This is totally unacceptable and I hope concerned parents will press the school board for an investigation to see if a suspension of a coach or administrator is warranted here. When details are clear, this incident may indeed turn out to be horseplay. For now, I for one am not buying the argument and I hope the News Journal will investigate and release specific details of the incident.In particular, this should be pressed if veteran members of the team “horseplayed” rookie members.
Here is the News Journal story:

Willard wrestling incident investigated; no charges filed

By TERRICHA BRADLEY • News Journal • February 26, 2009

WILLARD — Willard Local Schools administrators are calling an incident involving the high school wrestling team “reckless horseplay that went too far.”

Superintendent Dennis Doughty confirmed an incident occurred in late January involving several members of the wrestling team.

“Officer (Brian) Slone, who works at the school was immediately involved and the police did an investigation,” Doughty said. “The police are a big deterrent for kids.”

Willard High School Principal Jeff Ritz said the incident didn’t involve hazing. He said the students were “dealt with accordingly and severely disciplined.” No details of the discipline were divulged.

Huron County Childrens Services was also contacted.

Athletic director Michael Lillo and wrestling coach Todd Fox declined comment.

No charges have been filed.

According to a police call sheet, Ritz called the station Feb. 2 during the investigation. He said numerous students, including athletes, were being questioned.

“We dealt with three separate students and (are currently) investigating other students,” Ritz said. “We figured out they were messing around with each other. What they did was unacceptable and horseplay that went too far.”

Uncharacteristically, Willard had competitors in just 10 of 14 weight classes at last week’s Division II Shelby sectional tournament. Two other weight classes were filled with inexperienced freshmen.

The Flashes finished eighth, scoring 79 points. Only Jeff Goines, runner-up at 145 pounds, made the finals. Kyle Niedermeier was a third-place finisher at 103 and Ben Petrie was fourth at 171. The wrestling season is over for Willard, except for those four individuals that advanced to this week’s Fostoria district tournament.

By Hank Nuwer

Hank Nuwer is the Indiana-based author of Broken Pledges: The Deadly Rite of Hazing, High School Hazing, Wrongs of Passage and The Hazing Reader. He has written articles or columns on hazing for the Sunday Times of India, Toronto Globe & Mail, Harper's Magazine, Orlando Sentinel, The Chronicle of Higher Education and the New York Times Sunday Magazine. His new book is Hazing: Destroying Young Lives from Indiana University Press.

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