Students, Parents React at School Board
May 9, 2003, 1:14 PM EDT
The Massapequa High School auditorium last night was far more than crowded
than it normally is for its school board meeting, with good reason.
High school students sat alongside parents, former varsity baseball
players and concerned residents, each with his or her own opinion of the
news that 15 baseball players were suspended for attending a strip club
while on a recent team trip to Florida.
Several in attendance spoke on behalf of the 15 suspended players before
the school board.
"Common criminals were treated better than these children were treated,"
said Craig Garland, whose son Bobby, 17, was one of four players who did
not go to the strip club and was not suspended. "I'd like to see these
boys reinstated," Garland added. "They received some suspensions. Time
served. Put them back in the classroom and back on the ballfield."
But while the meeting was taking place, many people with Massapequa ties
stood in the hallway outside the auditorium, speaking with reporters about
the absurdity of the players' decision and the school's handling of the
"They get to go to Florida, go to a strip club and get out of school for
three days. I'm the one that's being punished," said Lee Hirsch, a
17-year-old senior. "They're just being punished for acting like teenage
"Where were the chaperones if this indeed happened?" said one mother, who
asked not to be identified. "[We have] 15, 16, 17-year-old kids going to a
strip club. The school pays for chaperones."
Anthony Scali, a freshman at Farmingdale College, played baseball at
Massapequa and disputed reports that strip clubs visits were tradition of
Massapequa team trips. "We didn't go to topless bars," he said. "We just
walked on the beach and hung out."
Several alumni spoke out in support of coach Bob Dell and assistant Tom
Sheedy, who lost their coaching jobs pending the results of school
investigation, which was announced at the meeting.
"Hands down, coach Dell and coach Sheedy are the best coaches I've ever
played for," said Chris Scarola, who captained last year's team.
Michael Thier contributed to this story.