Letter: A Teachable Moment for Us All

To the Editor:

I would like to address concerns that have arisen in various public forums about the Hanover High football team “skits” last summer. First and foremost, we deplore the reported behaviors at that gathering — irrespective of how they are labeled. Hanover, Norwich and surrounding towns expect and deserve a safe and secure learning environment for all Hanover High students. The depiction of such morally reprehensible acts, regardless of intent or circumstance, serves no purpose other than to remind us of our responsibility to continually provide safe, sustaining learning opportunities centered around the core values of respect, rapport, responsibility and, most importantly, a regard for how we treat each other as fellow students and citizens. There is little value in trying to parse degrees of clearly unacceptable behaviors. We apologize for any misgivings and doubts that may have arisen in terms of how we feel about those acts, or in terms of how seriously we take their import. In short, we have no tolerance for any such behaviors.

Just as this has been a teachable moment for our students, we as administrators have also reflected on how we responded, and clearly we could have done better. To that end, we are taking every step to ensure that all faculty, staff, coaches, captains and participants in any co-curricular activity uphold the values espoused in our Co-curricular Code of Conduct. It is not simply that the code be followed; more important is that it be understood and valued as part of good behavior, sportsmanship and citizenship.

This was a serious incident that we took seriously. We canceled and forfeited the homecoming football game. We spoke with all the players — individually and collectively. We spoke with every class, starting with those to whom we entrust the most responsibility — our seniors. We revisited all existing programs with faculty and staff. We will inform parents, students and the community of the specific additional measures we intend to take to support our students in their journey toward becoming respectful, caring and reflective individuals who take pride in their school, community, family and, ultimately, themselves.

If you would like further information, please feel free to contact Principal Justin Campbell or me.

Frank Bass

Superintendent, SAU 70

Hanover

Related

Parents, Principal Dispute Description of Skit as ‘Gang Rape’

Friday, October 18, 2013

Hanover — Parents and the principal of Hanover High School are disputing the use of the words “gang rape” in a police report that described skits performed at an off-campus gathering by members of the school’s football team, which was later reprimanded. Norwich Police Chief Doug Robinson said he based his report on an investigation by school administrators, who spoke …