I recently saw a picture from a Tri-Village varsity basketball game and was absolutely disgusted to see that all four of the players involved in what was labeled a “hazing incident” are now back on the court. This appalling behavior is not the behavior of someone who has earned the privilege of being a varsity athlete.
As a former student athlete for Darke County schools, I know all too well that varsity sports are the life blood of many students throughout the district, which I believe is what has strongly contributed to the cover-up of these grotesque acts.
The powers that be were given a very clear choice: punish the attackers or punish the victims. By allowing the players back on the team, they have blatantly chosen to punish the victims. Educational facilities should be a safe haven for its students, but by covering up acts of sexual assault, and protecting those who performed those acts, the school system is failing to protect its children.
As superintendent of the Tri-Village School District Josh Sagester’s first priority should always be to protect and serve the students of his district, but I firmly believe his position as the head basketball coach strongly interfered with his judgement in this case. This was not playful locker room banter. This was not a prank. This was sexual assault.
The old-fashioned mentality of “boys will be boys” is a dangerous and harmful rhetoric that continues to shame survivors of sexual assault, in this case specifically, male survivors who are already greatly stigmatized.
All parties involved, from the Darke County Sherrif’s Office to the Tri-Village school board, had an opportunity to show that Darke County protects those who are harmed, but have failed miserably and have set in place a dangerous precedent for behavior that goes on in locker rooms and behind the closed doors of our schools.
2005 Franklin-Monroe graduate