Tech Track Team Responds to the Bronx Science Scandal

By River Bunkley

Bronx High School of Science, a fellow specialized high school, is known for its academic programs, faculty, and students. However, a recent scandal has marred the high schools previously strong record.

On February 28th, 2013, three runners from Bronx High School of Science were arrested and jailed. Pier Berkmans, Thomas Brady, and Boubacar Diallo were charged with hazing and tormenting a 15 year-old freshman runner on the track team.

Although all three pleaded not guilty, they are facing many consequences for these accusations. Not only have the three boys been suspended from competing for the rest of the outdoor season, but also the whole team cannot compete in the outdoor season until a decision has been made on the validity of the charges made.

The school’s coaches and athletic directors have also faced the repercussions of this scandal. The entire coaching staff has been suspended due to the allegations.

Steven Guo ’14, a member of Tech’s track team, said, “I was pretty surprised, because I have some friends at Bronx Science and it seems really bizarre that a team would do that. I mean it probably happens in many places, but I find it surprising because I think it’s okay to have some fun with new-comers, but you can’t humiliate them, that’s just going too far.”

As for hazing in tech, Guo said he hasn’t seen any hazing or bullying going on in Tech personally and that his coach, Phil Zodda, does not tolerate bullying and “emphasizes team unity.”

Luis Rosado ’13 is a four-year Tech track veteran. He said, “there’s roughhousing and fooling around, but nothing of an offensive or sexual nature between the track team that I’ve seen.” Rosado went on to say that he hasn’t even heard of hazing or bullying going on with the other teams.

Winnie Yu ’13, like Rosado, has ran for Tech track for four years. Yu further confirms her teammates’ statements, “I have not seen any hazing. Even though the entire girls team may not be super close there is definitely no bullying or hazing of any form on the team.”

Peter Schmidt-Nowara, the coach of the Girls Soccer team, said “I’ve been coaching teams for over fifteen years and I’ve never heard of anything like this.”

Schmidt added that to discourage hazing, “As a coach, I really stress the importance of a team being like a family. And just like you wouldn’t bully your brother, you shouldn’t bully your teammate. It’s unacceptable.”

According to a few Bronx Science students, hazing isn’t new to their community. However, that doesn’t seem to be the case at Tech. Berkmans, Brady, and Diallo have some rough months ahead of them and a horrible mark on their record.

These events should encourage Tech to be vigilant and look out for any possible sings of hazing and abuse. Hazing is a serious. If Guo, Yu, and Rosado are right, hazing isn’t a problem at Tech, but there is always the chance that it could be happening on any team.

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