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10-22-06, 07:38 AM #1
High school water polo coach fired after over reaction to supposed hazing incident
PALM DESERT - The Palm Desert High School water polo coach who was fired last week after what is being called a hazing incident said Tuesday that officials "totally mishandled the situation."
"It was a bunch of 14-year-old kids being stupid with a roll of duct tape," said John David Deville, the water polo team's former junior varsity coach.
Principal Pat Walsh fired Deville and took disciplinary action against eight to 10 players last week after he learned of players who used duct tape to attach a freshman to a stretcher board during a morning practice. No injuries were reported.
Walsh said surveillance video showed that Deville watched as the incident transpired.
Deville, who was a first-year coach, said he didn't think the boys were hazing the player.
"I think about somebody getting hurt (when I think of hazing)," he said. "Not duct tape."
Deville, 26, said he didn't stop the boys because the victim volunteered and encouraged his teammates to tape him to the stretcher.
"He was willingly taped up. They were all laughing, even him," Deville said.
Pat Meaney, who was the assistant coach of the water polo team last year, said it is hard to believe hazing took place.
"None of them that I know would knowingly cause harm to anybody," he said.
Meaney was not present during the incident.
Both the junior varsity and varsity teams are comprised mostly by freshmen and sophomores, "so you don't really have that big disparity" between seniors and freshmen, Meaney said.
"These are a good group of kids. They're dedicated to the sport. They get along well with each other," Meaney said but declined to offer any details about the incident.
He said Deville has been "very well-liked and very well-respected" by the players.
Deville said school administrators reacted harshly "because, I think, they're threatened with a lawsuit by a parent."
Asked about a lawsuit Tuesday, Walsh said, "I'm not privy to all of that."
Walsh also stood by his initial reports of a hazing.
"Whether or not consent is given or implied, the action is hazing," he said.
Superintendent Doris Wilson supported Walsh's decisions by referring to one of the definitions for "hazing" in Webster's New Collegiate Dictionary: "To initiate, as into a college fraternity, by playing rough practical jokes or exacting demeaning performances from."
She said Walsh's accounts of the incident "absolutely" determine that the actions were hazing.
She said she did not see the surveillance video.
School board president Neil Lingle also supported Walsh's actions.
"It is totally inappropriate and unacceptable for anybody employed by this district" to watch the incident, he said after Tuesday night's board meeting.
Walsh said the investigation is complete.
He said he met with parents and players Monday night to explain the situation and review appropriate treatment and behavior.
"I believe we've taken the steps to rectify the situation and make sure it never happens again," he said.
Varsity Coach Janeen Bahr will coach the team the remainder of the year.
10-22-06, 09:30 AM #2
Kind of like FSCF being taped to the chair. Ahh... Good times.
"Stupid should hurt."
10-22-06, 01:09 PM #3
On that subject, however, I do believe that there is a definite place for some mild hazing in any "elite" environment where one is trying to gain a place among peers, i.e. sports teams, fraternities, the military, at a police department. I can tell you that as a 14 year old kid showing up at military school, I was terrified. Granted, with some of the psychos that I encountered there, I had good reason to be. There were kids on roids who would splatter your nose if you looked at them cockeyed while in formation. But I can tell you that while I don't condone any physically or psychologically harmful hazing, I wouldn't trade for the world some of the things I had to do as a plebe.
Did I have to get up early in order to go stand in the bathroom and repeatedly flush toilets so the upperclassment could have hot water in the showers? Sure. Did it suck? Sure. Would the admin label that as hazing as we were being made to wakeup outside of the normal framework of the day? Absolutely. Did we have 4th class (freshmen)/2nd class (juniors) rumbles? Where a freshman, when he received demerits, could elect to brawl with a group of 10-15 ranking Sgts. in order to avoid being written up? Holy hell the Commandant's office would have shit. Tell you what though, as juvenile as it was (let's face it...this was high school), I took everything the unofficial system could throw at me, and it made me a survivor, and it made me want to be a part of that corps. It was all worth it when you were "recognized" by upperclassmen, were called by your first name, were allowed to walk on whatever side of the path/hallway you wanted to, and didn't have to clean up a turd that someone left on the bathroom floor.
Those are extreme examples, but there is less severe hazing of a sort going on at any PD/FD in the country. Guys getting their lockers shaving creamed. Pepper spray in the new guy's vents. The list goes on. Bottom line, it is a part of the social fabric of any group that is not open to outsiders. You pay your dues, get razzed, it's a rite of passage, it's the espirit de corps and competitive spirit in belonging to a group that not just anyone can say they are a part of. You take that away, then you take away from the mystique of the team/unit/whathaveyou. Who wants to be a part of a group that it wasn't hard to gain membership to in the first place? Would you rather be a part of the SWAT team that handpicked you through a process and made your life hell for your induction period by making you do ridiculous, physically demanding, or mundane stuff, or would you rather be on a team where the brass APPOINTS members, and has put the kabbash on any sort of unofficial induction? I know which team I would take more pride in.
Sorry for the long rant, but this is as sore as a subject gets with me."If anything worthwhile comes of this tragedy, it should be the realization by every citizen that often the only thing that stands between them and losing everything they hold dear... is the man wearing a badge." -- Ronald Reagan, in the wake of the deaths of 4 CHP troopers in the Newhall Incident, 1970
The opinions given in my posts DO NOT reflect the opinions, views, policies, and/or procedures of my employing agency. They are my personal opinions only, thereby releasing my agency of any liability, or involvement in anything posted under the username "121Traffic" on O/R.
10-22-06, 01:36 PM #4
10-22-06, 01:36 PM #5
So by the Schools standard then it doesnt matter if someone is a willing partisipant to anything, it still constitutes a crime. So every sexual act is rape? (I know that is on the extreme) Hell if you take the Webster dictionary definition' I don't see where this applies.
Main Entry: practical joke
: a prank intended to trick or embarrass someone or cause physical discomfort
So this wasn't a practical joke because he wasnt tricked or caused physical harm. and it definatley wasn't "exacting demeaning performances from".
So by there own definition this wasn't hazing this was a group of young boys having fun. Lighten up and get a life, and let the kids have a life while your at it, Dumbass!!!"An Unarmed man can only flee from evil, and evil is not overcome by fleeing from it." Jeff Cooper
Some people are meant to be the police......Some people are meant to call the police!!!
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10-23-06, 02:29 AM #6
Seems like that sucks for the coach. If the kid was willingly taped up like he claimed than that's total bullshit. The "victim" of this "hazing" incident should come forward and give their side. Maybe then the coach could get his job back.Calm Like A Bomb...
“A pessimist sees difficulty in every opportunity. An optimist sees opportunity in every difficulty.”
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