Student hazing can be harmful

Student hazing can be harmful by Lindsay Nelson Wakonda and Irene's homecoming is now approaching and along with the fun festivities many may wonder will there be any freshman dumping?

In the past at Wakonda, seniors have been known to "dump" freshmen. This means that the seniors would haul freshmen out into the country in their cars and leave them out there to walk back into town. This usually would take place on the night of Coronation.

Is this dumping considered hazing? Hazing is any action taken or situation created, intentionally, whether on or off school premises, to produce mental or physical discomfort, embarrassment, harassment, or ridicule, according to Will Keim, Ph.D.

Even though this has been a tradition at Wakonda and luckily WHS hasn't had any accidents, this behavior is still hazing.

Last year, with the switch of administrators, dumping was outlawed at WHS. Suspension was threatened for anyone initiating any type of hazing. Some seniors at Wakonda may feel like they had to go through being "dumped" why can't they have fun and dump the freshmen now? The majority of the upperclassmen feel they should be allowed to dump freshmen as long as it doesn't get out of control.

Hazing all together at any age can be very harmful and dangerous. "Hazing at the high school level is particularly troubling because the developmental stages of adolescence create a situation in which many students are more vulnerable to peer pressure due to the tremendous need for belonging, making friends and finding approval in one's peer group," according to a statement by Sigma Alpha Epsilon in 1988.

In July of 2003 in Pocatello ID, Hailie Christensen and any other upcoming freshmen attending Highland Senior High School who wanted to join the dance team or cheerleading squad knew they had to go through some kind of initiation.

On that night, Christensen and 10 other girls hopped in the back of a pickup truck driven by seniors and headed to one of the senior's homes. The freshmen girls were then hosed down and made to do push-ups and bark like dogs.

When Christensen's efforts didn't measure up, a senior sat on her and started elbowing her in the back. Nobody stopped this harsh treatment and the girls were then marched into the house and told to strip down and put their underwear on the outside of their clothes and parade in front of a group of boys who were videotaping them.

This horrible night did not stop there. The freshmen girls were then plastered with peanut butter and eggs and told to do pushups again. This time Christensen was pushed to the ground and kicked by the seniors. They only stopped when told Christensen had a heart condition.

About 20 juniors were also subjected to a beer-fueled assault, with seniors dumping paint, animal parts, vomit and human feces on them.

These hideous acts did not go without punishment. Forty-plus students were required to do 15 hours of community service and attend a seminar about hazing by the school district.

Even though Wakonda is one of the luckier towns, parents and students do need to realize that hazing is out there and in some cases, even though it may be tradition, Wakonda High School is better off with hazing and initiation outlawed.

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