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mepham update

[Previous Mepham stories are here]

I know, it's been a while. I stopped updating about the story because everything that came out since the last time was either a rehash of old news or just so revolting that I didn't want to write once again on the bad behavior of adults.

There was a board meeting at the school last night and, apparently, not many people have learned to behave any more mature than they have in the past.

This following details of the meeting were learned from the words of two people present, both of whom sent me separate emails soon after the meeting ended:


It was a regularly scheduled board meeting at Mepham High School. The board announced their decision to not renew the contracts of the football coaches [what's not mentioned in the Newsday article is that two of the coaches will remain at the school in teaching positions and of them will stay on baseball coach]. This measure by the board was taken after the coaches were given a suggestion to resign and they refused to do so.


The board then went on with its regular agenda, discussing business and other actions taken by the board since the last meeting. These included the implementation of programs aimed at reducing hazing and promoting character education.

Towards the end of the meeting, one teacher stood up, with about a dozen behind her, and voiced their support for the coaches. Several of the parents who supported the board's decision to let the coaches go stood up and walked out at that point. The rest of the crowd cheered the teachers, and it basicallly turned into a pep rally after that.

Now, for my view on this.

Let's take a quote from one of the fired coaches:

Varsity coach Kevin McElroy said after the meeting he was "incredibly disappointed" by a decision he thought "100 percent unjust," and said, "This decision by this board of education has taken a stake and driven it through the heart of this community again."

Not really. What's driven a stake through the heart of the Bellmore community is the non-response and non-action taken by the school administrators and the coaches as soon as the rapes - and that's what they were, rapes, not hazings - were made known.

My daughter is going away next week on an overnight trip with her school. You can bet your ass that I am holding the teachers/chaperones responsible for whatever happens to my daughter while she is in their charge, just as these coaches were responsible for the kids in their care at the football camp.

Moreover, the coaches knew that there was a least one kid on the football team who threatened younger players before the trip that they would be hurt. At least one player had previous behavior problems and had served and in-school suspensions.

With that knowledge in hand, the coaches should have been doing bed checks periodically during the night. They didn't and they let those victims down.

The community is now divided between those who are rallying behind the victims and those who are rallying behind the coaches.

Those poor kids who suffered through this abuse now have to face the fact that their teachers support the adults who let this happen to them. And make no mistake, they did let this happen.

One of those teachers said this after the meeting: "We feel strongly that something like this could have happened under the supervision of any teacher, any club adviser, any supervisor, any coach, any administrator in any school, in any community, in any state across our country."

Yea, and I bet in any other school in any other state, heads would have rolled immediately.

One of the emailers said that the support for the victims is larger than it was in the beginning; it's just that the supporters of the coaches are louder, so to speak.

This whole thing makes not only the community of Bellmore look bad; as a neighbor of Bellmore, I am guilty by location, if you read some of the papers around the country when they write about Mepham.

I am embarassed, ashamed and really astonished at the behavior of the school, its staff and its administrators, and many of the parents and alumni.


Comments

The edbiz will circle the wagons no matter what.
It's their best thing.
Parents supporting the coaches....?
Teachers... well, it's like this. Coaches are teachers. Kids and parents are meaningless. They picked the side they prefer.

Michele:

Your words are much kinder than I want to put it. Great point about the (real) victims having their own teachers against them, in addition to all of the crap they must be taking from their 'understanding and compassionate'. How can these kids even show their faces anymore?

I'm currently reading Dante's Inferno, which can be applicable to this situation. I'm trying to decide which circle of Hell these people should be thrown into? I'm not sure it's deep enough.

Too angry to say anything else, except that I live in the next county, and I feel guilty by distance, too.

WG, LI

Perhaps this new wave of accountability and responsibility that has fallen on the corporate sector needs to bleed more over into politics. That's what the school's administrations have become, boiling pots of politics. We laugh, since when did politics, accountability and responsibility fall in the same sentence except for campaign speaches. One can only hope.

" "We feel strongly that something like this could have happened under the supervision of any teacher, any club adviser, any supervisor, any coach, any administrator in any school, in any community, in any state across our country."

No. The problem is that there was no supervision. The coaches who were to provide that failed to do so. Therefore, this incident could not have happened under ANY onther supervisory presense--it is the direct result of a LACK of adequate supervision.

Firing, what little was done, is way to good for these people. The whole damned school needs an overhaul.

And, regarding Circles of Hell, since the coaches betrayed a trust placed in them--and maintain that betrayal through statements like these--the 9th Circle is a good spot for them, frozen in the plain, forever gazing on the face of Satan.

Circles of hell?Too esoteric,keep it simple:an eye for an eye,a pinecone for a pinecone.These coaches are rat ass bastards who should be holding their heads in shame and begging forgiveness,

I can't shake this feeling that these jerks in Bellmore are trying to hold on in hopes that this all blows over.

There are any number of law firms that will do their damnedest to put those responsible - that would be the school, the school district, the coaches, and the principal in a financial 9th Circle of Hell.

The relevant terms are "in loco parentus" and "failure to protect."

That public statement by the teachers has probably made it a LOT easier to make such a case - it goes to showing that there is systemic and willful unwillingness to provide a safe environment.

The reason this story got widely reported is in part because such things are just starting to be seen as a problem. It used to be that if athletes were involved, it was dismissed with a fond chuckle and the statement that "boys will be boys." It's now recognized in precedent law that sexual harassment, including harassment based on sexual orientation, gender, or even presumed sexual orientation is discrimination, hence illegal.

Here in Nevada, Washoe County school district lost a huge judgment because they blatantly permitted harassment of a gay student, Derek Henkle. My wife works in that district and I assure you, a $451,000 out of court settlement got their attention. Lord only knows what the award would have been had they let the jury decide!

While the results are by no means consistent, there is an increasing amount of litigation on this matter and in fact, parents who make a stink about this have a much larger club than they may realize. Bring an advocate or lawyer to a meeting and I assure you, you will have their FULL attention!

Oh, and folks, if you happen to like Rusty Humphries or Mike Savage on the radio, and you here him sneering about "diversity." That's code for "I got a gawdam right to pick on any geeky, faggy pimply, stinky pencilneck I gawdamn well please." I've got nothing against promoting family values. Encouraging the idea that beating the crap out of people as an example of what happens to "different" people that I object to.

Geez, and people wonder why things like Columbine happen. The jocks there - and it was jocks and cheerleads that the two boys targeted - weren't even embarrassed to admit that they constantly picked on the two boys and made their lives living hell. They could not, or would not connect the dots - even under fire.

Here's an exerpt from the first link above. (The second was probably the music playing in the heads of Klebold and Harris.)

Klebold and Harris aren't heroes; they were hateful, twisted racists who, in addition to going after jocks, hunted down and murdered one of Columbine's six black students. But they didn't go guns blazing into vacuum. Harris left a suicide note, discovered by police and reprinted in one of Denver's daily papers, The Rocky Mountain News. I haven't seen the note printed anywhere else, which strikes me as odd.

The note reads: "By now, it's over. If you are reading this, my mission is complete.... Your children who have ridiculed me, who have chosen not to accept me, who have treated me like I am not worth their time are dead. THEY ARE FUCKING DEAD....

"Surely you will try to blame it on the clothes I wear, the music I listen to, or the way I choose to present myself, but no. Do not hide behind my choices. You need to face the fact that this comes as a result of YOUR CHOICES.

I've had my own experiences in this line - and that I'm not dead as a result is sheer luck.

At some point there needs to be a recognition that if this is permitted, than some variety of that will happen - and the best outcome is that only money goes down the drain.

A co-worker brought this to my attention.

The headline on the cover of today's Newsday reads: They're Out

And the picture is of 2 guys in an embrace at the board meeting.

Maybe that's the answer! Even if not, it's a kick in the nuts to the bastards who hinted that the abused kids might be gay.

Look, my brother is gay, and I have no problem with it. What I am saying is that this is one of the few things these rockheads will understand - attacks to their manhood, however little they may have.

WG,LI

Interesting turn of phrase that ex-coach McElroy used: "This decision by this board of education has taken a stake and driven it through the heart of this community again." That's how one kills a vampire.

It depends what you mean by "could have happened under the supervision of [anyone, anywhere]". In the sense that, yes, kids can avoid bed checks and if, somehow, the teachers had never heard of or seen any threats or abuse, then -- sure, I can imagine the same incident occurring. (And, sadly, the same results: supporting everyone but the victims.) But they knew there had been threats (I don't know enough about what the behaviour problems had been to say anything about that; an in-school suspension could have been the punishment for smoking, too).

MBruce wrote:
"eye for an eye,a pinecone for a pinecone.These coaches are rat ass bastards who should be holding their heads in shame and begging forgiveness"

Let's make it literal: IMO, they should be holding something else in pain and begging for medical treatment.

This last development is pretty amazingly pathetic. Lets hope the parents of those involved launch a civil action and sue for large damages against all these arsehats trying to cover their own butts.