District response to hazing

Administration creates hazing education program


Daunting Debacle: The school’s weight room, where athletic teams train.

Max Kiernan, Reporter

Earlier this fall, a series of incidents occurred within athletic teams between players. These incidents were classified as hazing by the school administration and punishments were applied to those involved who were determined by the administration to be at fault.

“There were a couple of different incidents,” Principal Dr. Paul Waller said. “We considered them to be hazing.”

Following the school administration’s immediate response, measures were taken to mitigate the chances of such an incident or set of incidents from happening again.

“One thing we’re doing is making sure that our students are aware and educated on what hazing is… [for] our coaches, our teachers, providing professional development so that they’re aware of what those definitions are,”  Waller said.

Waller says that one of their strategies for the mitigation of the chances of such an incident happening again is giving students opportunities to speak up.

“”But mainly [we’re] trying to provide opportunities for students to understand that when you see something going on, that is possibly hurting or embarrassing somebody else that they shouldn’t be doing that, or they should be stepping in to help prevent that kind of thing from happening.” Waller said.

He says that one method of providing such opportunities is through activities put on by the guidance department for the school as a whole.

“That’s why we’re doing all of these different activities, whether that be freshman challenge, orientation, or the junior challenge this year.” Waller said. “All of those kinds of things are geared towards helping students understand how their actions can impact others, and to try to make better decisions. 

In regards to the athletic department, measures are being taken to prevent hazing at the team level. 

“We are showing a video on what hazing is and how to prevent it at all sports preseason meetings,” Laura Connor, athletic director, said.

A wrestling athlete, Wright Chen (10) had this to say on the meeting.

“My biggest takeaway from the meeting was that hazing comes in all shapes and sizes. Student athletes sometimes may not realize that what they’re doing is considered hazing,” Chen said. “That’s why student athletes need to be more careful about what they do.”

Waller says that while the video produced by the OHSAA (Ohio High School Athletic Association) is newly made and required, this is not the first mention of hazing by the association.

“They’ve always addressed hazing, but that’s a new video and a new regulation that requires us to show it to all students [athletes],” Waller said. 

Waller says that the district has always had a response plan and process for hazing occurrences.

Waller said, “If it occurs, the consequences of those kinds of things would depend on the situation and how it would fall into the student code of conduct.”