DANVERS (CBS) – Angry residents ripped into Danvers school officials at a meeting Monday night, arguing they had swept an ugly chapter under the rug.
“It was concealed from the community that you folks were entrusted to lead,” Karen Renieri said.
“Everybody here is just covering yourself,” said Lisa Silva. “We checked the box.”
They’re talking about two winters ago when a boy on the Danvers High hockey team told authorities about racial, homophobic, and anti-Semitic hazing rituals in the team locker room at their home rink, where he was whacked in the face with a sex toy and inappropriately touched while forced to stand naked.
“We’ve been told that these actions do not reflect the core values, mission and vision that we seek from our school system, but yet the lack of transparency and action says otherwise,” School Committee member Alice Campbell said.
An independent investigator’s report just made public is heavily redacted but concludes the same thing police and the district attorney did – there wasn’t enough evidence to bring any criminal charges.
One woman says her son played on that team and saw no wrongdoing.
“My son was never sexually assaulted, or witness to any sexual assault,” Debbie Joyce said. “My son is not a racist, or homophobic, or part of a white supremacy group as many social media bullies have stated.”
Some school officials say the allegations have been vetted at countless public meetings.
“It didn’t seem like the public need to know the explicit details in order to understand what had happened and especially what we were doing about it,” said School Committee member Eric Crane.
But many parents argue the school committee and superintendent have not been transparent about this.
“I do not have confidence in the superintendent, nor in the committee members who were involved in this long-term investigation, and I ask that they resign,” said Karen Ranieri.
The team’s coach at the time, a Danvers Police sergeant, told investigators he knew nothing of the rituals and resigned his coaching position last summer.