John Vogan, head football coach of Conestoga High School, has resigned effective immediately amid the school district's investigation into hazing that the players referred to as "No Gay Thursdays."
In a letter posted March 17 to the Tredyffrin-Easttown School District website, district officials said no adult had direct knowledge of the hazing, which allowed for explicit sexual behavior like upperclassmen placing their genitals on the heads of underclassmen. But they went on to say that the locker rooms had insufficient adult presence and created an environment in which the hazing could occur unchecked.
The letter said the hazing had been going on for "several years."
"Conestoga does not accept any type of intolerance," the letter said, calling "No Gay Thursdays" "ignorant."
"Even though no gay students were specific targets of discrimination, the practice itself is an affront to all of us," the letter said.
The entire varsity and junior varsity football staff have also been relieved of coaching responsibilities in all sports through the fall season, the letter said, adding the district is looking to hire a full-time district athletic director to oversee sports programs at the middle and high schools. The district also plans to work with the Anti-Defamation League and Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association to review school practices and foster a "positive athletic culture."
The letter said "disciplinary action has been administered to students as appropriate," but it did not specify how many or which students were disciplined or what the punishment entailed. Student privacy rights prevent that disclosure, the letter said.
The district undertook its own investigation March 4, after the Chester County district attorney's office concluded its own investigation. The office charged three students in the juvenile system in relation to an October incident in which three seniors, who were all 17 at the time, held down a freshman player, who had refused to clean the locker room in his underwear, and penetrated his rectum with a broomstick.
The three face charges of unlawful restraint, terroristic threats, conspiracy to commit assault and related offenses. District Attorney Tom Hogan has said the victim, who no longer attends the school, requested that sexual-offense charges not be filed.