A couple of weeks ago, I posted the story of the fourteen-year-old boy who was sexually assaulted by three older students in the Conestoga High School locker room as part of the student’s “No Gay Thursday” ritual — a day where male students can sexually harass other male students, like raping them with a broomstick — and not be considered ‘gay.’ See that post HERE. The three rapists were arrested and are awaiting trial, but what about the coaches? What about the school?
Last week Philadelphia‘s Tredyffrin/Easttown School District — home of Conestoga High — announced that coach John Vogan had resigned, and Superintendent Richard Gusick stated that an ongoing investigation would “determine whether or not code of conduct violations occurred, the awareness and level of supervision provided by the coaching staff, and what further measures can promote inclusive and respectful behavior.”
Wait. What? He doesn’t know whether or not code of conduct violations occurred? A boy was raped; I’d consider that a violation, but maybe that’s just me.
And given that this disgusting “No Gay Thursday” has been an ongoing event at this school every week for three or four years, I find it next to impossible to believe that some teachers, and most coaches, and even a few administrators didn’t know about it; I imagine there was a lot of “look the other way” because boys will be boys … who rape boys.
Even more ludicrous is Coach Vogan, who said, prior to his resignation, that he had no idea about the team’s hazing culture because “coaches typically stayed out of the locker room.”
Really, coach? Three years of hazing and you had no idea because you “stayed out of the locker room”? Or, is it more likely that you stayed out of the locker room because you knew this kind of behavior — sexual harassment, open palm slapping boys on their backsides with enough force to leave a mark, walking up behind a student and resting your genitals on the other student’s head, rape — was going on? “No Gay Thursday” happened every week and you never once saw it or heard about it?
And it isn’t just the coach. Conestoga High School administrators and the school district are circling the wagons and trying to protect themselves over than the students in attendance because we all know kids talk, and you can hear them; they’ll laugh and joke and brag about what happened on “No Gay Thursday” and teachers will hear it; and coaches, while they may steer clear of the locker room, also hear the boys laughing about what they’ve done. But they all turn away and pretend they didn’t hear a thing because boys will be boys.
Here are some segments of the schools’ official statement:
“Hazing activities occurred with some members of the football team over the past several years, including back slapping, horseplay, and obscene behaviors targeted toward underclassmen.”
Backslapping and horseplay? Obscene behaviors? A student was raped with a broomstick and yet they cannot even say it.
“The locker rooms had an insufficient adult presence throughout the football season, creating an environment where hazing activities could occur.”
Hazing that had been ongoing for four years and yet not a single teacher or coach or counselor or administrator ever heard about it?
“Conestoga does not accept any type of intolerance, hazing, bullying or intimidation within our school community. “No Gay Thursday” is ignorant, intolerant, and has no place in any school. Even though no gay students were specific targets of discrimination, the practice itself is an affront to us all.”
Huh. So, maybe they would have done something if a gay student was the target? If a gay student was raped? But since it’s just bullying and intimidation, oh, and rape, of a straight student, I guess they turn a blind eye and a deaf ear.
Oh, and if you needed an inkling that maybe there were some folks who knew about this little tradition, in addition to the coach resigning, that school has relieved every single varsity and junior varsity coaching staff member from their duties.
Though no one knew this was happening …