Hazing In High School

Alexus Brown, Staff Writer

Hazing is becoming more of an epidemic with each passing day, and many students are either sent to the hospital or possibly die because of it.  The latest incident with hazing comes from Maine West High School in the town of Des Plaines.  The school has been reported by concerned and angry parents whose children have suffered from hazing while participating on a school sports team.  Employees of the school are being accused of overlooking neglect and child abuse that has been occurring since 2007.

The mother of the victim, who wishes to keep her identity a secret, contacted Superintendent Ken Wallace this past November to discuss the horrific situation.  The Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) want prosecutors to investigate the reports. The parents have banded together to hire a lawyer, having Maine West High School sued on behalf of four athletes from the school.  The four victims claim players from the boys’ soccer and baseball teams physically and sexually assaulted them during illegal initiation rituals while school officials and coaches were aware.

Des Plaines police charged 6 players on this year’s varsity soccer team with misdemeanors for hazing three teammates.  Michael Divincenzo and Emilio Rodriguez, the two soccer coaches for the school, remain on paid leave and were reassigned to other posts.  Divincenzo has Maine West alumni coming to his defense, creating a Facebook page for him stating his innocence.  Divincenzo, however, is being accused of forcing and threatening the varsity players to assault the freshmen victim.

Maine Township High School District 207 is also investigating on alleged hazing incidents, district officials have confirmed and instantly notified police and DCFS about recent charges.  Other schools are being accused of hazing as well, such as Hoffman Estates High School, whose district 211 suspended boys from the varsity basketball team for three games after learning about “off-campus” initiation.

According to Chicago Tribune, district 211’s Superintendent Nancy Robb says, “It involves several players piling onto a targeted player and then grabbing, horseplay, slapping, and hitting the targeted player in areas including the buttocks and groin.” She does quickly add that the boys were all clothed after her statement.

Hazing is considered torture and against the law, yet more and more students fall victim to playing the predator and prey believing it to be a joke.  Students who have suffered from hazing rituals received injuries, trauma, and even death which lead to social and mental issues.  Hazing is also growing rapidly in our own military and school bands.  What is even worse is that hazing usually has an authority figure approving of the violence happening to the victim, instead of helping.

There is no real way to stop hazing because it deals with psychological problems.  Many of the victims end up repeating the trauma done to them on newcomers of the team or club, believing that the abuse will make the team members connected like a family.  Psychologists and sociologists consider hazing a morphed up version of sharing a positive bonding experience because of its degrading nature.  Even though there isn’t a solution to hazing, the more people speaking out against it, the more people will see how objectionable it really is.