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COTTONWOOD HIGH PRINCIPAL CALLS HEAD-SHAVING `A HAZING INCIDENT’

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Cottonwood High School officials are looking into a head-shaving incident Wednesday night involving several young men.

Principal Michael Bennett said the school is in the process of tracking down all the students who were involved. "We'll be meeting with the parents of the students who did this. We consider it a hazing incident."The incident occurred at a yearbook party, Bennett said. Several other students told two school officials who were present what was happening and they intervened. Bennett wasn't there, but his office began to get phone calls Thursday morning from unhappy parents.

"The kids last night told us they were all volunteers (for the shaving), but I think they were saying that to save face," he said.

Bennett said he wasn't sure at this point how many students were involved.

Anyone who took part can be suspended until parent conferences have been arranged. After that, if an individual is guilty, the consequences vary depending on the situation.

Like most schools, Cottonwood High forbids hazing.

"It's a form of harassment," Bennett said. "We just don't approve of any harassment."

He said this is the first time Cottonwood has experienced any head-shaving incidents.

Head-shaving has been a problem elsewhere, notably at East High School, where school officials have taken stiff measures to stamp out what has become a tradition that crops up from time to time. The incidents do not occur on school property but are a concern for officials because of the safety risks involving physical struggles and using cars to whisk a victim away. Five East High students were suspended and two charged with disorderly conduct in February after a head-shaving incident.