Hazing News

TC PALM Update: San Sebastian fracas

INDIAN RIVER COUNTY — Sebastian River High School head baseball coach George “Buddy” Young has been fired as coach, effective this month, as a result of an alleged hazing incident involving his players, according to documents released Friday.

Schools Superintendent Harry La Cava’s June 9 letter told Young he intends to recommend a three-day suspension without pay in August from his teaching job at the School Board’s June 24 meeting. La Cava said in the letter Young failed to be “fully honest” in dealing with the SRHS athletic director Michael Stutzke and school authorities during the investigation of the incident.

According to the Indian River County Sheriff’s Office, teammates held a SRHS baseball player down, while another teammate placed a two-liter plastic bottle near the player’s rectum when the players were staying in a Plantation hotel room during a baseball tournament in March.

The sheriff’s office report said Young heard a bottle might have been used during the incident, but never told Stutzke or other school officials.

SRHS Principal Peggy Jones notified Young in another letter, dated June 9, he would no longer be head baseball coach.

Three of the players involved in the incident have been sent to the Alternative Center for Education for at least the first semester in lieu of a formal expulsion, district officials confirmed.

Young and assistant coach Christopher Rahal were relieved of their coaching duties pending the investigation immediately after the incident was reported, but both continued to teach at SRHS through the end of the school year.

Rahal told sheriff’s investigators he was in the room playing video games that night, but left at some point and did not believe he was in the room during the incident.

The district did not release information about Rahal on Friday because state law mandates officials wait 10 days after an employee has been notified before releasing derogatory information about the employee. Rahal did not receive his disciplinary letter until June 13.

By Hank Nuwer

Journalist Hank Nuwer is the Alaska author of Hazing: Destroying Young Lives; Broken Pledges: The Deadly Rite of Hazing, High School Hazing, Wrongs of Passage and The Hazing Reader. In April of 2024, the Alaska Press Club awarded him first place in the Best Columnist division and Best Humorist, second place.

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 current book is Hazing: Destroying Young Lives from Indiana University Press. He is married to Malgorzata Wroblewska Nuwer of Warsaw, Poland and Fairbanks, Alaska. Nuwer is a former columnist for the Greenville (Ohio)Early Bird and former managing editor of the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner in Alaska.
Nuwer was named the Ohio Society of Professional Journalists columnist of the year in 2021 for his “After Darke” column in the Early Bird. He also won third place for the column in 2022 from the Indiana chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. He and his wife Gosia, recently of Union City, Ind., have owned 20 acres in Alaska for many years. “The move is a sort-of coming home for us,” said Nuwer. As a journalist, he’s written about the Alaskan Iditarod sled-dog race and other Alaska topics. Read his musings in his blog at Real Alaska Daily-- and in his weekly column "Far from Randolph" in the Winchester Star-Gazette of Randolph County, Indiana.

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