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Hazing no ‘right’ of passage

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Another school year, another hazing. When will it stop?

This isn't the stuff of "good, clean fun." Plain and simple, it is assault, no matter how much perpetrators like to rationalize it as a "time-honored tradition." The potential for emotional and physical harm is great, which explains the state laws and local school board policies that strictly prohibit this practice. Despite schools' concerted efforts to enforce these regulations, students continue to prey on underclassmen. The most recent incident to come to light involved head shavings among East High School students.

Perhaps this will be the incident that finally trumps the "boys will be boys" sensibility that perpetuates this foolishness. When the perpetrators of the most recent rash of head shavings realize they could face sanctions for violating the safe schools policies — even though school is out for the summer — perhaps this conduct will, at last, stop.

One wonders what it would take for the notion to sink in that hazing is not acceptable behavior; that hazing will not be tolerated.

It took a federal case to put hazing in the proper perspective. Last spring, a jury awarded former Sky View High student Brian Seamons $250,000 in damages after football teammates taped his nude body to a towel rack and paraded his date to an upcoming school dance past him. The jury determined Seamons' coach violated his civil rights in the aftermath.

This page is not overly optimistic but it is heartened by the intense concern being demonstrated by parents of some of the victims in the latest round of head shavings at East High. They recognize hazing for what it is, an act of violence and harassment. They are not turning a blind eye to it.

For too long, parents dismissed the behavior with a wink and a nod. Some students, incredibly, felt left out of the "in crowd" if they weren't targeted. Those attitudes only promulgate this practice.

The attitudes of some East High parents who, rightfully, deplore this practice are healthy. Hopefully, others will jump on the bandwagon and bring a halt to a practice that has no up side whatsoever.