In what has been described by their parents as a “team-building” exercise, senior members of a girls’ high-school soccer team put dog leashes on freshmen team members, blindfolded them, and then slammed pies in their faces. The incident violated school rules about hazing, and five team members, including the coach’s daughter, were suspended from school and prevented from playing in the school’s first playoff game of the year.
Several parents went to court to request an injunction overturning the school’s decision, but the judge declined. The principal had made parents aware of the girls’ banning via email. The parents also sought to file a restraining order against the school’s principal and athletic director. In the request, one parents said, according to MSNBC:
“Our daughter is a responsible adult,” wrote Lisa and Craig Newfield, parents of one player, in the court complaint. “From her and her cohort we hear that the incident was misguided, but no real harm was done. Their sentiment, and ours, is: it happened, it’s over, let’s move on. Jessica was not hurt by the events, and continues to respect the seniors and feels like a respected member of the team.”
A parent of a girl who was a target of the hazing defended the older girls’ behavior:
Todd D. White, a lawyer and father of one of the freshmen who was allegedly targeted, told WHDH that no one was hurt. “The consequences of the investigation were infinitely more harmful than anything that any of these kids went through,” he said. He told the news station the incident was more of a teambuilding exercise gone wrong than it was hazing.
Law-enforcement authorities are investigating the incident, and the spokesman for the athletics association in Massachusetts, where the incident occurred, held fast that the incident was inappropriate, saying, “Just because it was all right way back when, doesn’t mean it’s alright now. What somebody thinks is funny, another might see as bullying. Someone might think teasing, while another takes it as a serious personal insult.”
What do you think? Should the parents of the hazers have gone to court for restraining orders against the principal and athletic director? And what about the comments of the parent of one of the girls who was hazed? Society continues to struggle with cultural change, does it not?
By the way, the team lost that first playoff game.