Parents of one suspended Honeoye student accused of hazing say punishment is too harsh

Posted at: 02/05/2013 11:30 PM
Updated at: 02/05/2013 11:41 PM
By: Lynette Adams

The parents of one of the Honeoye students accused of hazing spoke out Tuesday night. They aren't denying their sons actions, but question if the punishment is too harsh.

School Superintendent David Bills refused to speak on camera, but in a statement Tuesday afternoon he confirmed that the District had found evidence of hazing by a number of students taking part in an extracurricular sports activity.

The parents who spoke with News10NBC say the incident involved six high school varsity basketball players and it happened on a school bus after a game.

The parents say they are hurt and disappointed by this situation.

“I couldn't imagine what hazing meant until I talked to my son and a few of the other boys and they explained what they had done,” said Beth Finster.

Tom and Beth Finster are still trying to make sense of it all.

The Finsters say on Monday their son was among six Honeoye seniors, all members of the varsity basketball team, suspended for hazing. Teens the Finsters say are good students, top-notch athletes, wholesome kids.

“They did give some wedgies, they did give some noogies, things like that,” said Beth.

News10NBC asked the Finsters if they thought the act was malicious.

“No, not at all. Nobody on the bus had the intention to do this maliciously to one or another,” said Beth.

“I think the word hazing leads people to believe it's worse than it is. I don't think the kids meant to hurt anybody. It wasn't  intentional to make anybody cry. It was like a high five in their eyes,” said Beth.

But the School District has interpreted these acts as hazing and the Finsters say their son has been suspended for five days. They also say the remaining three games of the season are canceled as well as Senior Night, the event where the senior varsity players and their families are recognized.

Harsh discipline they say for teens who, in these parents eyes, made a bad choice, not a conscious decision to hurt someone.

“I think it's mortifying to us as parents that this has come out as hazing,” said Beth.
“We're here to protect all our children,” said Tom.

The Finsters want to make it clear they are not angry with the School District, but they want people to know these six students are not troubled kids. What happened, they say, is somewhat of a  rite of passage for high school boys that's gone on for years.

“It's sad they're taking the rap for what's been done over and over again,” said Beth.

In another part of the statement sent to News10NBC by the Honeoye School Superintendent the District says:

“We take hazing accusations very seriously and we will continue to gather information and take any necessary actions."

The District's statement goes on to say that they take hazing allegations very seriously and they will continue to gather information and take any necessary steps.

The cancelation of the basketball season hurts the team, which is currently 11-4. The Finger Lakes West Champion was scheduled to be announced at one of those final games.

The Finster's son said he didn't want to appear on camera to comment. He says he and his teammates have decided to avoid any public comments for now.