Officials meet with parents to address Conestoga football hazing

BERWYN, Pa. (WPVI) -- Students and parents had a chance to sound off Monday night about a locker room hazing scandal that rocked Conestoga High School in Berwyn, Chester County.

In a closed door meeting with residents, officials vowed to come up with a district-wide program aimed at preventing any future incidents of hazing.

But there were many in attendance who believe the coach and his staff should not have been let go for what was clearly a shortcoming of the school district administration.

John Kincade is one of those parents, who tells us, "I think this meeting should have happened before the coaches were fired. I think they were judged too early."

There was as much discussion about the coaches being treated unfairly as there was about the alleged hazing itself.

John McCarthy of Berwyn says, "My heart is with Coach Vogan. I know what a great quality person he is, and all the staff, this is a great school and I continue to be very proud and grateful that I have a child here."

It was earlier this month that Chester County District Attorney Tom Hogan gave a graphic description of an alleged culture of hazing in the Conestoga High School varsity football program - a culture, investigators say, that had been going on for three or four years.

The premise was that on Thursdays when the locker room was unsupervised, anything these kids considered normally gay was not gay.

But authorities say things reached a darker violent level last October. That's when they say three 17-year-old members of the team held down a 14-year-old freshman and violated him with a broom handle.

Authorities say the atmosphere was so bad, some players refused to go anywhere near the locker room on Thursdays - some even quit the team. And yet, the coaching staff says they were unaware.

The coach resigned and the rest of the staff was relieved of their duties through the fall season. But some at the meeting Monday night believe the administration is to blame.

The school district vows to hire experts to design a district required program for the entire football team to foster and maintain a positive and respectful sports culture.

People say they just want to make sure nothing like this ever happens again.

Kevin Stroman of Berwyn says, "Making sure that we as a community and as a school district actually watch over the kids."

The school district superintendent is also pushing to hire a full time district athletic director who can make district goals for athletes a priority without the demands of other responsibilities.
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