Students and one parent association member at the Bronx High School of Science have mixed feelings on how administrators handled a hazing incident that shook the prestigious school community last year, and if the hazer’s punishment was appropriate.
Thomas Brady, one of three students arrested for hazing a fellow track teammate in February 2013, pleaded guilty to hazing in the second degree, a violation, during a court appearance at Bronx Supreme Criminal Court on April 29.
As long as Thomas completes 20 hours of counseling centered on the repercussions of hazing by his next court appearance on July 2, he will not have a criminal record because hazing in the second degree is not considered a crime by the state court system. According to a court transcript, Judge William McGuire signed an order of protection for the victim, barring Thomas from contacting him in any way.
Cliff Stanton, the parents’ association safety chairman whose son is a junior at the school, said adults have been present in locker rooms following the incident. He admitted that the school community is divided, with some thinking that Thomas and the other two boys got what they deserved, while others think the hazing was nothing more than horsing around that got carried away.
“From a safety standpoint, I am satisfied that [the school] has done the right thing. I don’t fear for my son’s safety, but it is a black eye for the whole school and it is tragic on all fronts,” Mr. Stanton said.
Calls to Principal Jean Donohue requesting comment on the issue were not returned as of press time.
Outside of the high school on Monday, students had mixed feelings about how the school followed up with the incident.
Ricky Daniels, 15, who has been on the Bronx Science track team for two school years, said he didn’t notice any policy changes at the school or on the track team after the hazing. The school was afraid of being sued by the victim’s parents and decided to make an example out of Thomas, Ricky said.
“There was some joking around about it, but the school blew it out of proportion before there was any evidence. I think the school handled it badly,” Ricky said.