New Rochelle Schools Superintendent Sends False and Misleading Statement to Press on Isaac Hazing Story

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DSC 1705  1NEW ROCHELLE, NY -- Talk of the Sound has confirmed that Schools Superintendent Richard Organisciak issued a false and misleading statement in response to a report by Talk of the Sound, picked up by CBS 2 News, of a hazing incident involving the Isaac E. Young Middle School football team.

The story has exploded in the media with stories appearing CBS 2 News, Journal News, Newsday, News12, New York Post, Huffington Post, AOL Patch.

The first version of the statement claimed the "the entire Isaac Young Middle School parent community was invited" to a meeting with Dr. Anthony Bongo on October 25th. The second version states, correctly, that only "parents of the students on the football team were invited". Both versions are misleading when they state "at which time the matter was discussed and parents were informed of the investigation and the consequences for the students". Parents were not informed of the serious nature of the meeting at the time they were contacted. That, and a meeting time not convenient to most parents, resulted in only a handful of parents attending the meeting with Dr. Bongo.

The full initial statement reads:

After a report of an incident involving members of the Isaac Young Middle School football team in the locker room in late October, a thorough investigation was launched by the principal that involved the New Rochelle Police Department. After it was determined that no criminal activity had taken place, the school took appropriate disciplinary action. Students involved in the incident were suspended and the balance of the team’s football season was cancelled.

In addition, on Thursday, October 25th, the entire Isaac Young Middle School parent community was invited to a meeting with the principal at which time the matter was discussed and parents were informed of the investigation and the consequences for the students.

It was later changed to read:

After a report of an incident involving members of the Isaac Young Middle School football team in the locker room in late October, a thorough investigation was launched by the principal that involved the New Rochelle Police Department. After it was determined that no criminal activity had taken place, the school took appropriate disciplinary action. Students involved in the incident were suspended and the balance of the team’s football season was cancelled.

In addition, on Thursday, October 25th, parents of the students on the football team were invited to a meeting with the principal at which time the matter was discussed and parents were informed of the investigation and the consequences for the students.

Emphasis added in both statements.

The district's initial false statement directly contradicts the statements made by parents interviewed by Lou Young on CBS News.

The initial statement appears to be an attempt by Schools Superintendent Richard Organisciak to discredit the parents who gave interviews to CBS News.

AOL Patch ran a story later based on the initial, false statement.

Patch added "Though some parents felt they should have been notified of the incident and the subsequent suspensions, the school district issued a statement Thursday that said parents were informed of a meeting held on Oct. 25 to discuss the matter."

This is not what happened, as the district was later forced to admit. AOL Patch has been notified of the error but has yet to issue a correction.

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