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Bronx Science Athletic Director, Track Coaches Suspended Over Hazing Scandal

Decision Comes Hours After Mayor Bloomberg Rails Against Accusations
Bronx High School Of Science Hazing Suspects

(L-R) Pier Berkmans, 17; Thomas Brady, 16; and Boubacar Diallo, 16; are charged with a performing a sexually violent hazing ritual on a younger member of the track team at the Bronx High School of Science. (Credit: CBS 2)

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Mayor Michael Bloomberg called the recent arrests of three Bronx High School of Science students for hazing “inappropriate” and “despicable,” if true.

The athletic director — identified on the school’s Web site as Marion Dietrich — and two track coaches have been suspended from their positions at the school, following the arrests of three students in connection with a sexually violent hazing.

“There’s a very bright line between joking and having fun with each other and hazing, and doing something that may be hurtful to another person,” said New York City Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott, “and we’re not going to tolerate that in New York City Public Schools.”

One of the suspended staffers is a substitute teacher, one is a full time teacher and one is a retired teacher.

The two coaches who are still teachers will retain their teaching jobs at the school, which are not affected by the suspension, CBS 2 reported.

Meanwhile, earlier in the day Bloomberg railed against the whole idea of hazing. The mayor had a look of disgust on his face as he commented on the scandal at the elite public school, WCBS 880’s Rich Lamb reported Tuesday.

“It’s despicable, if it happened. I don’t know, you don’t know what the truth of the matter is, but there’s no place for hazing in school,” Bloomberg told reporters, including 1010 WINS’ Stan Brooks.

The students, identified as Thomas Brady, 16; Boubacar Diallo, 16; and Pier Berkmans, 17., have been charged as adults for allegedly hazing a freshman member of the team.

All track team events have been suspended by the school’s principal until the investigation is complete.

“Kids will be kids, but this, from what I read, if it’s true, went way beyond kids being kids and it’s just inappropriate,” Bloomberg said.

The assaults started in late December, when one of the assailants told the victim, “You need a good fingering, you freshman” before penetrating him through his clothing, the complaint said.

Later in January, one of the teens demanded that the victim touch him sexually and threatened to rape him if he did not, according to the complaint. When the victim refused, he was pinned down and sexually assaulted, police said.

The older boys also allegedly struck the victim’s genitals with a water bottle.

One student, who asked not to be identified, is a friend of the suspects. He claimed hazing on the track team has happened before.

“Maybe not a ritual, but it’s just a norm,” he said. “It’s something that they do, and it’s just always been like that.”

He said he thinks the victim who complained to police is not the only one who has been targeted for hazing this year. “Possibly a few others” have been targeted, he said.

Other students questioned whether the incidents happened at all.

“I’ve heard of hazing happening before. It’s not exactly like it’s impossible to do,” said student Garnet Garcia. “But I really don’t know what to believe.”

“I have friends on the track team and they’ve never told me about it. I’ve never seen them,” said student Ivan Vulin. “I work out in the gym and been in the locker room before and I’ve never seen any of it happen.”

The three have been charged with forcible touching, hazing, harassment and assault and are due back in court on Friday.

They will have to meet with the superintendent of schools on Thursday to find out if or when they can return to school.

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