We have zero tolerance for bullying, hazing and intimidation, and we take it very seriously.
· We are continuing to investigate this incident.
· We are in the process of determining what type of disciplinary action is warranted for those students who were involved.
Update 1: Text of information on hazing on the front page of the Garfield webpage.
1.In addition to the district disciplinary suspension, hazing incidents will be
considered criminal offenses and treated as such.
2.Hazing incidents will be reported to ALL college school applications,
career and/or work references.
Seems clear to me.
End of update.
Principal Ted Howard of Garfield apparently got wind of hazing happening off-campus and went to inspect. He was not happy with what he found.
He sent this note to parents (red mine):
Do you know where your son or daughter is at tonight? I spent the afternoon with Officer Radford and many other officers walking through the Arboretum. One hundred or more Garfield students were participating in hazing incidents, drinking hard alcohol and beer. Students were being paddled, had on diapers, eggs were being thrown at students and shoe polish was all over their body. As students ran and scattered from the scene they caused at least one, maybe more car accidents due to running in front of cars. I was also called a "Nigger" by a student and many other derogatory names.
As I email you tonight I asked the question do you know where your son or daughter is at? I ask that question because I want you to know that we all have a responsibility to keep our kids safe. We all work hard to make sure they learn life lessons and make better decisions. Tonight some of our students didn't make good decisions. If students were there to watch, cause harm to another student or behave inappropriately this impacts the entire GHS community and puts the GHS community in a negative light.
I am asked every year how we will address hazing. Every year we work really hard to teach our students about respect, how to honor each other's cultures, and to have empathy. I am asking you tonight to continue that conversation with your son or daughter. We are a community, a community that grows together and learns together. Please have a conversation with your son and daughter about decisions, how they can and will impact people's lives.
Thank you for your time.
I note that he says this kind of behavior puts Garfield in a bad light. Well, yes and no because I believe that this may be happening - in a low-level way - at many schools. That students thought - because they were off-campus - that no one would know, it didn't matter and that some of them could turn on their principal - was terribly wrong. But this is a small group of students and I know it is not indicative of the Garfield student body as a whole.
That Mr. Howard took it seriously enough to gather police officers, check it out and confront students speaks volumes about how much he cares.
It is unclear if this was an athletic group, a club, seniors with freshman but it is truly disturbing. I cannot believe that a student would call a principal that kind of name.
I also received some tweets that word has gotten around.
I hope, truly hope, that there are some real discussions at Garfield (and all the middle and high schools) about this. There is no place for hazing.
Hazing has to stop at both the high school, college and athletic levels. (A young man, a member of a college marching band, died from being hazed on a bus just in the last couple of years. There are now at least three people charged with his death and it appears the university had knowledge of hazing that occurred.)
What should happen?
Should there be a big all-school assembly? Maybe so and maybe a police officer can explain that if you get caught doing certain things, they ARE against the law. Maybe explain the parameters of "assault."
If Mr. Howard finds out this was associated with a team or club, should he disband it immediately (because obviously, leaders at the top decided this was a good idea). I'd love to know what parents thought when their children came home with shoe polish on.
And, what should the district do (if anything?)