Girls’ soccer team members suspended for hazing; adults brush off incident

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.

About ejwillingham

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This entry was posted in Bullying in the news, Defending social Darwinism, Laws, School districts and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Girls’ soccer team members suspended for hazing; adults brush off incident

  1. Elise says:

    When you find a child-bully you find a parent who thinks that that behavior is just fine. Perhaps social services in Massachusetts should pay those families a visit and someone, like the police, should explain the concept of assault and battery. I wouldn’t put too much stock in what the freshman girl said. She still has to attend that school and probably doesn’t want to be shunned and turned into an outcast. Plus you never know, her parents could be telling her that she has to man-up and take it in order to play sports. There are alot of parents out there with disturbed concepts of right and wrong.

  2. D. S. Walker says:

    Someone reported the incident to the principal and athletic director, or the girls would not have been suspended. This seems to imply that at least one of the girls did not think it was okay. It’s like the old crude jokes that guys used to think were okay to tell at work; only they aren’t okay anymore. There may have been no intent to bully in this case, but if someone felt uncomfortable or hurt by this, the intent doesn’t matter.

    I think people need to rethink what they consider to be acceptable. I’m glad the judge didn’t give in to the parents. There’s a right and wrong way to promote team building. The parents attitudes don’t surprise me one bit. I learned the hard way that not everyone thinks respect and kindness are important. That is the real problem in our society. We have to change the way the adults think, and act if we want to change the children. That is why, in my blog about accountability for protecting our children, I hold the parents of the bullies accountable.

  3. This article really hits home for me, because my daughter is a senior in high school, the goalie for the varsity soccer team, one of the team leaders on a team with a number of new players, and a very aggressive player when she’s in goal. And would she ever participate in this kind of “team-building” exercise? Never. Ever. Ever. In fact, she’d be the one going to the principal and raising holy hell about it–except, of course, that there would be no need, because the coach has taught the girls that playing soccer is about self-esteem, and sportsmanship, and setting goals, and doing your best, and celebrating your strengths, and being gracious in defeat, not demeaning their team members or the members of an opposing team.

    Shame on the parents for defending their daughters’ behavior. And good for the principal, the athletic director, the athletic association, and the judge for defending common decency. It’s heartening to see that some adults still know how to act like adults.

  4. biolotrix says:

    Agreed. I particularly liked the comment from the athletics association rep.

    Looks like what really needs to happen is retraining of parents as much as children/young people.

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