Silver Chips Online

Freshmen hazing mars beginning of spirit week

Nine students target three others in physical altercation

By Deepa Chellappa, Online Editor-in-Chief
September 23, 2009
On Monday, two incidents of hazing occurred on school campus. Nine students were involved in the fights, which occurred during 5B lunch, according to Principal Darryl Williams.

Williams emphasized that he does not want these events to affect the rest of spirit week or the pep rally tomorrow. "I don't want this incident to ruin the plans for SGA," he said. "But if I feel it's a safety issue, I might have to make some harsh decisions."

The same group of students was responsible for both incidents that occurred on Monday. There were three victims targeted in the altercations, one of whom was not a freshman but may have been new to the school, according to Williams. Williams said the students did not suffer serious injuries. "Fortunately, they're okay," he said.

Williams was unable to speculate on the possible consequences for the nine individuals involved and could not provide information on whether the parents of the victims will be pressing charges. "All I can say is that they're being parents," he said. During similar incidents that occurred in the past, Williams said that the students involved received the maximum penalty possible. "[The consequences] were pretty stiff," he said. "I do as much as I can as the principal and I may even seek an alternate placement."

The incidents were recorded on video and posted to YouTube on Monday, but have since been removed from the site. Williams said that the administration learned about the incidents because several students came forward with information about the videos on Tuesday afternoon. "I am greatly appreciative of the students who are tired of these cowardly acts," he said in a letter addressed to Blair parents on the PTSA Listserv.

Both videos involved a male wearing a red t-shirt and jeans. In one incident, two males were accosted on the ramp outside the Student Activity Center (SAC). In the other incident, a small group of males initiated a fight just outside the SAC and 10 - 12 onlookers later participated in the altercation.

Williams made a school-wide announcement on Wednesday morning informing Blazers about the incidents and warning students not to participate in acts of freshmen hazing. He encouraged students to practice respect towards one another and to report any inappropriate behavior to adults in the building. "I'm trying not to allow this to ruin the whole spirit of Homecoming and spirit week," Williams said. "I'm just reminding folks about the zero tolerance policy for hazing and bullying and I hope no more incidents like this happen."

UPDATE: As of 9:00 p.m. on Wednesday evening, the two YouTube videos showing the altercations have been removed by the uploader.

Editor's note: This story was updated at 12:00 p.m. on Sept. 24.

Silver Chips Online is still compiling information and will post updates as they occur.

http://silverchips.mbhs.edu/story/9356