Moderator: It seems to me the parents of these youngsters and the administrators (this is said respectfully) should sit down with the band director and find out exactly what went wrong and when with the mentoring program (which is a great idea if closely monitored by band director and school administrator). Was there a recommendation made to Band Director Jim Koch about preventing abuse?
PS Link to well-written news story. Clear and easy to follow and most objective.
2 students punished in hazing incident
By Katlynn Lanham
Published August 24, 2009
CLUTE — Two Brazoswood Buc Band members were disciplined last week for an incident Brazosport ISD officials have determined as hazing.
“Hazing did occur and we’re going to handle it appropriately,” Assistant Superintendent Dennis McNaughten said.
Though school officials would not reveal the exact punishment for the incident allegedly involving a simulated sexual act, the student code of conduct states the students could go to a disciplinary alternative education program, in-school educational program or be suspended.
However, in this instance, no students will be expelled, McNaughten said.
“We want the kids to understand there are consequences for every action we take,” McNaughten said.
Band Director Jim Koch and Brazoswood Principal Steve Snell could not be reached for comment. Several band parents also did not return messages left by The Facts.
A parent reported the incident two weeks ago and school administrators since have been investigating. The incident happened at school as a part of Fish Auction, a mentoring program used to pair freshmen band members with senior band members. Band directors were not in the room when it started, but they were down the hall, McNaughten has said.
The investigation was forwarded to the district attorney’s office Thursday, where District Attorney Jeri Yenne could conduct another investigation and interviews.
Yenne said she will be looking at the case to determine if students broke the law by hazing other students.
Under Texas law, hazing is considered any intentional, reckless act endangering the mental or physical health of a student pledging or maintaining membership in an organization.
Acts can be considered hazing whether on or off campus.
Other students who were not directly involved in the incident could face consequences from organizational sponsors, McNaughten said. McNaughten could not say what consequences the two students deemed to be involved will face with the organizations in which they are involved.
However, he said the two students likely would not be asked to leave the band program.
The band’s monitoring program, Fish Auction, will hopefully continue, he said.
The mentor program is a good one, Superintendent Joe Ripple said. Parents have called to reassure Ripple of the strengths of the mentor program.
District officials soon will meet with organizational sponsors to talk to them about what is considered hazing, McNaughten said.
Ripple will clarify to sponsors that hazing covers a wide spectrum.
Since the band’s report of hazing, a parent reported the Brazoswood Belles have been hazing their newcomers during initiation, McNaughten said. They will be investigating the case as they did the band, he said.
The incident will not set back the band’s plans for the year, McNaughten said.
“They will go forward and keep winning sweepstakes,” he said.