Montgomery Blair High School's Online Student Newspaper
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Oct. 11, 2006

Administration moves to crack down on freshman hazing

by Julia Mazerov, Online Entertainment Editor
Just as it has in past years, "freshman hazing" has surfaced as an issue within the student body over the course of spirit week. Principal Phillip Gainous announced this information in a broadcast over the PA system during 7th period on Monday and today, reminding students of the repercussions of participating in such acts.

Ninth grade administrator James Short said that many of the perpetrators have been caught and severely punished.

Short verified that there have been incidents of physical abuse directed toward freshman, as well as sophomores. Short also said that the amount of these incidents as well as their severity have greatly decreased since last year, which he attributes to Gainous's announcements about punishments for hazing. "Gainous has done a good job of sending the message to the upperclassmen of the consequences," he said.

Short also added that juniors and seniors have done a good job of avoiding participation in hazing, and that the problem exists primarily in the lower classes. Short holds both freshmen and sophomores responsible, however. "This issue is definitely not one-sided," he said. "Many freshmen have initiated problems with the sophomores." Sophomore Lucas Farrar agreed. "A lot of freshmen have brought it upon themselves by acting really cocky and trying to prove to the school that they're tough," he said. "Some of them deserve what's coming to them."

Another recurring scenario for the freshmen is hazing among friends. Freshman Nick Loeb is friends with several of the sophomores that chose to pick on him. Loeb said that he was pushed down to the ground and subsequently kicked, but viewed this attack as somewhat of a joke and did not take it too seriously. Loeb stated, "I think people just need to accept freshman hazing as a part of being a high school freshman. Yeah, it sucks, but there's not really anything you can do about it." Circumstances such as Loeb's make it difficult for the administration to crack down on hazing, as many choose not to report incidents because they are friends with the instigators of these attacks.

For some, though, this is not the case. Freshman Otis Banwell did not know any of his attackers when he was cornered by a group of several sophomores during 5a lunch on Monday. "I had no clue who any of them were," said Banwell, "but a sophomore that I'm on the soccer team with told them to go after me. It was only for a couple seconds, but they ran off before I could see who they were."

While Banwell would have liked to see his attackers punished, Farrar believes that the administration takes "freshman hell week" too seriously. "They should just accept it and not take action unless something really bad happens. It's going to happen no matter what they do," Farrar said.

Please stay tuned for more coverage.

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  • SGW on October 11, 2006 at 4:47 PM
    Good article, Julia. I'd heard rumors about the hazing, so it's useful to have more information about it. It's reassuring that the administration is taking it seriously.
  • ha on October 11, 2006 at 4:57 PM
    I think hazing is happening alot less than Gainous makes it sound. If you're a freshman, and you don't know any upperclassmen, nobody's going to bother you. It's most definitely all just friends of freshmen, and Gainous taking things over the top. If you don't provoke anyone, nothing will happen. Banwell probably did something to make the sophmore send people after him, no matter how unfair it may sound, he must have been asking for it.
  • Republican on October 11, 2006 at 5:47 PM
    May someone please explain to me how hurting someone else can be fun? Or a joke? Is it not stupid that people are getting hurt because idiots think it is right for them to hurt freshman.

    "A lot of freshmen have brought it upon themselves by acting really cocky and trying to prove to the school that they're tough," he said. "Some of them deserve what's coming to them."
    Do these freshmen not own the school in the same way as all the sophomores, juniors, and seniors own the school? It is amazingly stupid how they would hurt people for the fun of it. It is amazingly stupid how people are accepting hurting other people as part of the "school culture". Stupid is stupid and just because some other idiots are doing it doesn't make it right, not by a long run.

    The administration are doing a great job of keeping Blair a nice place to learn in, not a bad place to get hurt in.
  • xoff. on October 11, 2006 at 6:01 PM
    umm... lucas seems like a bit of a punk based on his comments. but good article julia!
  • alex r on October 11, 2006 at 6:48 PM
    I saw a short kid getting "accosted" and pushed around after school, but he ran into a class room and kind of stayed in the shelter of a teacher, so...I guess it kind of does happen
  • Apathetic on October 11, 2006 at 7:24 PM
    There is no excuse for hazing. Hazing is merely bullying by a group of insecure people who feel the need to get a power trip by picking on those weaker/smaller than they.

    I would like to note the similarities between the upperclassmen picking on the underclassmen and the administration picking on the students. The analogy seems to fit quite well, since basically the administration is imposing its will on the student body, for no other reason than, apparently, a "power trip" (as somebody characerized it in "ID Policy Finalized").
  • bob on October 11, 2006 at 10:12 PM
    Question for Republican, if you are conservative, then why do you act as the most liberal of the lot?
  • its not always the fault of up on October 12, 2006 at 8:03 AM
    i passed a tiny freshman in the hall yesterday who was standing in a doorway proclaiming "bring on the sophomores and juniors. im not afraid of them." and cocky statements along those lines. Though i didnt do anything, it made me want to punch him. if freshmen dont want to get hazed, they shouldnt be arrogant, over-confident and annoying.
  • yarr (View Email) on October 12, 2006 at 9:37 AM
    Pssh. As a freshman, I have no problem with freshman hell week. It's a rite of passage, and although Apathetic and Republican have brought up good points against the whole idea of freshman hell week, freshmen just have to deal with it. I have been physically attacked multiple times this week, as I am sure is the case with most freshmen. However, no harm has come to me, just as I am sure no major harm has come to any of the other freshmen. It's no big deal.
  • Saku on October 12, 2006 at 4:16 PM
    It's power.
    I've never experienced this as a freshman here at Blair...because I was always one of those people that wouldn't say much or stand out.

    Freshmen hell week's definately stupid.
    Probably on a bus like I have seen last year, you have kids beating around others in the back; so the freshmen moves to the front of the bus. It's aggrivating.

    It is a big deal, but things like this lowers self esteem and also can potential make the attacker more...I don't know? Agressive in future actions? Which may cause major issues and problems.

    I have a bunch of freshmen friends that I have met last year and this year. They're all very kind and warm. I don't understand how they would act 'cocky'.
  • James on October 12, 2006 at 5:59 PM
    Freshmen hell week is a week to welcome freshmen to blair. It is not intended to hurt them.
  • reply to ha on October 12, 2006 at 6:05 PM
    some people dont no upperclassman but still get hurt. are you saying that it is entirly freshman's fault that they get what they got? not really. some sophmores and juniors and seniors take freshman hell week seriously and go for anyone.
    that must really suck for otis after what happend. not even seeing who did it to you is sad. hope your alright!
  • aom on October 12, 2006 at 6:45 PM
    this school is not a gang, or a mob though many kids could be in a gang, school is not. we don't need to beat up the newcomers just because they're new and small. "James" beating freshman is not how people welcome others to blair. beating people up is not how you welcome anyone to anywhere. Republicans and Apathetic are right, this is stupid. come on non-freshman's get a Clue. if you want to watch people get beat up then watch WWE on fridays. that's so much more amusing.
  • 09 on October 12, 2006 at 6:55 PM
    i like what "republican" said-- i dont think any sort of mass violence is acceptable in any way, but at the same time, i think that freshman hell week is nothing new. Hazing in high school has been around forever, so this shocked parent reaction kind of suprises me, b/c "freshman hell week" has been at blair for a while. This kind of bulling even exists in middle+elementary schools, but apparently this is the first time where anybody has actually taken a strong reaction to it. I think the problem has to do more with kids being prone to violence (which kids have always been) then with specific bullying issues.
  • Republican on October 12, 2006 at 8:22 PM
    to bob,
    Idiots are idiots and you don't have to be conservative or liberal to hate idiots.

    to its not always the fault of up,
    Is that not just a small little kid wanting to make a mark on this big scary high school? Why don't you just ignore such stupidity and move on? It is no reason for an upperclassman to hurt that small little kid. Just let those little kids do their little things and wish they will grow up someday. If you decide to hurt that little kid because of something immature he did, you are showing that you're nothing more than that little kid for 1) doing something extremely stupid: use words, not fists and 2) lowering yourself to actually take that little kid's words' seriously. Iím not saying all freshmen are little idiots, just those stupid freshmen.
  • lime juice on October 13, 2006 at 10:14 AM
    the comparison between freshman hazing and the administration's ID power trip is debatable. although both are clearly based on an "I'm-better-than-you" philosophy, freshman hazing is a week of relatively minor incidents. the ID policy, on the other hand, is simply a fixated, year-long device whose purpose is to basically earn submission from the students. i dont particulary support freshman hell week, but in all seriousness it's a minor issue compared to other security concerns.
  • tin tin nguyen on October 13, 2006 at 11:54 AM
    I believe freshmen hell week is horrible. Upperclass men should not pick on other kids. IT is a heinous dispicable act. People that get caught should be penalized to the maximum. People that beat up freshmen only beat them up because they got beat up when they were freshmen. I admit I got beat up when I was a freshmen but taht doest drive me to beat up freshmens now.
  • sock hop (View Email) on October 19, 2006 at 2:35 PM
    These upperclassmen beating on the 9th graders are sissies and punks. They're cowards. They pick on little guys. Do they pick on guys their own size? And you 9th graders getting beat on: FIGHT BACK!
  • Anonymous (View Email) on October 19, 2006 at 10:54 PM
    Just because theft is illegal, doesn't stop people from doing it. I do agree that "hell week" may sometimes get out of hand. But most of the hazing is just pushing and shoving, just to keep a tradition going. It is true that "hell week" has been around for years, and so far, everyone that has been in a public high school has had to deal with it.
    for the tl;dr version, hell week is here to stay no matter how much effort there is to stop it.
  • Reply To Sock Hop on October 23, 2006 at 8:29 AM
    The upper classmen arent punks for doin it. They're just having fun. I bet if a bunch of upperclassmen were jumping you, you wouldnt anything about. Talking is one thing. Actually being there is another.
  • Tiffany :-) on October 29, 2008 at 10:11 PM
    I think freshman hell week is horrible. Think of the freshmen. New, and in a much bigger school, with lots of older kids they don't know, some of them adults. And then one of the first experiences in that new place is getting beaten up? They're going to learn to be afraid of even walking in the hallway. I'm a junior now, and I wouldn't think of beating up the freshmen I see in the hallway.
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