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Off The Record Officials Should Share Facts Of Hazing Incident

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Posted: Friday, November 23, 2012 1:33 pm | Updated: 11:34 pm, Wed Dec 19, 2012.

More thoughts & squawks about people, places and things in and around Northwest suburbia…

The type of hazing that allegedly occurred at Maine West High School in late September in which a 14-year-old member of the boys varsity soccer team was assaulted by fellow teammates, while extremely disturbing, is, remarkably and tragically, not that uncommon.

Numerous hazing incidents occur all over the country in high schools and colleges. A study of hazing released several years ago found that 48% of those prep students who responded to a survey said they have been through some form of initiating process when joining clubs or teams.

In addition, 43% of students who responded said they were subjected to humiliating activities and 29% said they were forced to perform illegal activities.

The one hazing incident this reporter clearly remembers involved members of the Prospect High School football team in 1997. Similar to the alleged Maine West hazing, teammates at Prospect were suspected of holding down a teammate in the football locker room and sexually assaulting him with a foreign object. One of the accused was a family friend. The incident garnered huge media coverage, and as I recall, a willingness of local officials to reveal many important details.

In contrast, the Maine West incident has resulted in the release of only a few morsels of information for public consumption as police and Maine Township High School Dist. 207 officials contend that they can offer little because it involves juveniles.

That, we feel, is exactly why authorities should do everything in their power to get out in the open the facts of what may or may not have occurred. Keep the identities of juveniles confidential, but let the public know that this type of devastating conduct — like that of bullying elementary and middle school children — does happen — even in our community…

A few concerns have been expressed locally about Mayor Marty Moylan’s Oct. 9 letter to certain employees of Rivers Casino in their desire to unionize. The most recent questions have been raised about the letter being written on a city of Des Plaines Office of the Mayor letterhead. Objectors say that while Moylan can support whomever he wants, he should not be using city resources to do so.

In response, the mayor said he has “no concerns” about the use of city stationary to convey his support of the possible unionizing effort.

“I feel it’s important for the mayor to state his opinion. I feel strongly about this,” said Moylan recently. “Those people should get a living wage.” He added that he was given legal advice that to write and send the letter of support on city stationary was OK…

A few interesting attendees were seen hob-knobbing at Mayor Marty Moylan’s Nov. 6 state representative victory celebration at an Oakton Street tavern in Des Plaines.

Maine Township Highway Commissioner Bob Provenzano and Maine Trustee Walter Kazmierczak were among the visitors to the cheerful pizza, beer, soft drink party. Both are stalwart Republicans while Moylan is a Democrat.

Provenzano said he attended because he and Moylan have been good friends for a very long time. He also wanted to do what he could to make sure that Moylan, once he takes office in January, will support Maine Township government…

And finally, we’d like to congratulate Des Plaines Elementary School Dist. 62 Supt. Jane Westerhold for being named Illinois Superintendent of the Year by the Illinois Association of School Administrators (see two related stories in the Wednesday, Nov. 21 Des Plaines Journal).

That honor makes Westerhold eligible to be named National Superintendent of the Year by the American Association of School Administrators (AASA) from among recipients of their state awards.

Ten years ago, then Dist. 62 Supt. Paul Jung, who later went on to become mayor of Des Plaines, served as president of the AASA.

After Jung retired from Dist. 62, he ran for Des Plaines mayor and defeated incumbent Ted Sherwood. He died while in office and was succeeded by Tony Arredia.

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