Nov 18, 2014
Can increased supervision curb locker room hazing

The hazing scandal at Sayreville High School underscored a serious issue in locker room culture, and in the passing weeks the conversation has shifted to what should or can we do about it.

That’s not an easy puzzle to solve, but the majority opinion seems to support increased supervision. While that won’t eradicate hazing, it would certainly help to keep athletes safe and obedient in their environment.

The Wall Street Journal recently published a piece titled “What Sayreville teaches us about high-school locker rooms.” Several coaches and ADs are quoted, and while nearly all support supervision, some say it raises another issue: adults preying on children.

From the article:

In many cases, lack of adult supervision reflects administrative fear that grown-ups in the locker room could prey on children or face accusations to that effect, say some coaches and experts. Stationing adults in kids’ locker rooms “could bring a different set of issues or accusations, said Chris Sampson, superintendent of an Indianapolis-area district embroiled in its own locker-room-related scandal.

In the wake of cases such as Sayreville, where seven older students face juvenile criminal charges of assaulting younger students, some victims, experts and school administrators are calling for rules requiring stricter supervision. The locker room is where students are most vulnerable, they say, making it the last place that supervisors ought to ignore.

After the Sayreville scandal broke last month, the New Jersey Board of Education advised schools to implement plans for “safe and effective supervision of locker rooms, during and after athletic and other extracurricular events.”

In New York state, two football players at Groton High School were suspended this fall in regard to an incident that occurred in an unsupervised locker room, said superintendent Jim Abrams. He said that an adult in the room would have prevented the incident. No coaches were punished for the incident, Abrams said. The identities of the players haven’t been released. Abrams said that the school now requires locker-room supervision in most cases, but that exceptions are unavoidable.

“We want our coaches to be in the locker rooms at all times, Abrams said. But there are times they can’t be. If you have a male coach and a female team, you don’t want them in there for obvious reasons. So maybe you leave the door open or you’re nearby.”

Supervision minimizes bad behavior, so that’s a logical step. The AAU a while back, after its president was accused of child molestation, implemented measures that included having two coaches present during private conversations with athletes. If there is a real concern supervision creates new dilemmas, that’s a viable solution.

The article raises another question: should state or federal law mandate supervision? Roger Blake, executive director of the California Interscholastic Federation, likened locker rooms to classrooms, arguing a teacher wouldn’t leave students alone in a classroom or chemistry lab. Why would they do it in locker rooms?

I suspect the conversation will intensify in the near future, and some districts are already passing new measures. It’s worth thinking about what you can do to help improve safety at your school.

Can increased supervision curb locker room hazing?

Sharing Block: Winning Hoops Sharing Block

By Kevin Hoffman, Managing Editor

The hazing scandal at Sayreville High School underscored a serious issue in locker room culture, and in the passing weeks the conversation has shifted to what should or can we do about it.

That’s not an easy puzzle to solve, but the majority opinion seems to support increased supervision. While that won’t eradicate hazing, it would certainly help to keep athletes safe and obedient in their environment.

The Wall Street Journal recently published a piece titled “What Sayreville teaches us about high-school locker rooms.” Several coaches and ADs are quoted, and while nearly all support supervision, some say it raises another issue: adults preying on children.

From the article :

In many cases, lack of adult supervision reflects administrative fear that grown-ups in the locker room could prey on children or face accusations to that effect, say some coaches and experts. Stationing adults in kids’ locker rooms “could bring a different set of issues or accusations, said Chris Sampson, superintendent of an Indianapolis-area district embroiled in its own locker-room-related scandal.

In the wake of cases such as Sayreville, where seven older students face juvenile criminal charges of assaulting younger students, some victims, experts and school administrators are calling for rules requiring stricter supervision. The locker room is where students are most vulnerable, they say, making it the last place that supervisors ought to ignore.

After the Sayreville scandal broke last month, the New Jersey Board of Education advised schools to implement plans for safe and effective supervision of locker rooms, during and after athletic and other extracurricular events.”

In New York state, two football players at Groton High School were suspended this fall in regard to an incident that occurred in an unsupervised locker room, said superintendent Jim Abrams. He said that an adult in the room would have prevented the incident. No coaches were punished for the incident, Abrams said. The identities of the players haven’t been released. Abrams said that the school now requires locker-room supervision in most cases, but that exceptions are unavoidable.

“We want our coaches to be in the locker rooms at all times, Abrams said. But there are times they can’t be. If you have a male coach and a female team, you don’t want them in there for obvious reasons. So maybe you leave the door open or you’re nearby.”

Supervision minimizes bad behavior, so that’s a logical step. The AAU a while back, after its president was accused of child molestation, implemented measures that included having two coaches present during private conversations with athletes. If there is a real concern supervision creates new dilemmas, that’s a viable solution.

The article raises another question: should state or federal law mandate supervision? Roger Blake, executive director of the California Interscholastic Federation, likened locker rooms to classrooms, arguing a teacher wouldn’t leave students alone in a classroom or chemistry lab. Why would they do it in locker rooms?

I suspect the conversation will intensify in the near future, and some districts are already passing new measures. It’s worth thinking about what you can do to help improve safety at your school.






75 Applewood Dr. Ste. A
P.O. Box 128
Sparta, MI 49345
616.887.9008
Interested in the print edition of Coach & Athletic Director?

Subscribe Today »

website development by deyo designs