May 16, 2003

Hazing incident horrifies

The recent hazing at a powderpuff football game between junior and senior suburban high school girls was horrifying and upsetting because of the atrocities they committed, including the smearing of feces and animal intestines on people, as well as the serious physical injury to the head of one girl. But the incident has gained attention and concern because the perpetrators are middle class college-bound high school students.

As of now, it is unclear whether the girls will be prosecuted as criminals in the court system. But what is clear is that unlike inner-city teens of the same age, the largest threat these girls will probably face is school suspension or expulsion, which could prevent them from going to college.

The girls involved in these unsettling acts deserve to be punished. Regardless of who does the punishing - the school or the judicial system - these girls are certain to suffer for their actions. High school peer pressure has rarely evinced itself in the public arena to such a gruesome degree, and its surfacing should serve to deter other students from falling into the destructive vice of peerpressure.

This event did not take place on school property or at an officially school-sponsored activity. Nonetheless, because the hazing was part of an unofficial student tradition, it is imperative that the greater school community take an active role, along with the parents, in working to prevent an atmosphere like this from arising again.

Above all else this incident reminds us that the delicate relationship between the high school institution, parents, and high school students often leaves a gap of authority and understanding for impressionable minds to act destructively.