EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Opinion

December 5, 2011

Editorial: No 'fix' to end Andover hazing scandal

Just when you thought the Andover hazing scandal could not get any worse, it has.

On the very day Andover school officials were handing down punishments to those involved in the hazing, one of the two alleged ringleaders of the incident created a Facebook page in which he and some of his fellow students criticized the school's investigation and discussed ways to shut it down.

The student, who was expelled by school officials Wednesday, called the investigation "bull (expletive)" and ordered fellow basketball players to attend a meeting at the "Dunn gym right after school."

"... You better be there," he wrote on the Facebook page.

Other students belonging to the expelled student's Facebook group called the actions against the ringleaders "unfair" and urged others to keep their mouths "shut," Eagle-Tribune writer Jill Harmacinski reported.

"Just don't talk about anything and we can fix this," a fellow high school athlete wrote on the page. "You guys look we can fix this, we just need everyone's help," the student added.

Someone — parents — needs to clap the reins on these kids immediately. There is a criminal investigation underway on the hazing incident. These kids are risking the addition of charges of witness tampering and obstruction of justice to the trouble they are already in.

The arrogance displayed in comments like "you better be there" and the conviction that "we can fix this" lend credence to the story of the hazing, which ranks among the worst we've heard. At a private summer basketball camp on the Stonehill College campus in Easton, two underclassmen were pressured to play a game of "wet biscuit," where the loser was forced to eat a semen-soaked cookie.

Andover school officials learned of the incident in November when one of the two victims spoke out.

So far, the school's reaction has been swift and appropriate. The two ringleaders have been expelled. At least five students were kicked off the basketball team and given school suspensions of varying amounts of time.

As appalling as the abusive nature of the hazing was, the idea that some of these students believe their punishment is inappropriate or that they can simply "fix" matters and skate away is even more disturbing.

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