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High School “Hazing” Bullies Protest Expulsion Of One Of Their Own

High School “Hazing” Bullies Protest Expulsion Of One Of Their Own

 

Just up the road from my house, there’s a high school.  The one my daughter will probably attend, far down the road. In my upper-middle-class Ottawa neighbourhood, the school is a surprising sight: Tattered around the edges, looking tired and in desperate need of a facelift. The run-down outside belies some of the attitudes inside: the fact that the students all believe that “hazing” is a necessary ritual. When the youngest students arrive every fall — 9th grade students, as young as 13 to 14 years old — the 12th grade students, rather than being helpful and welcoming role models, choose to put the younger students through a “froshing,” meaning the younger students are subjected to initiation in the form of verbal and physical abuse. Which, at that age, is basically bullying hell. Rumors of torment, of having bleach or urine thrown at them, are rampant.

This week, one of the bullies went too far — at least, in the eyes of the school administration. Grade 12 student Mykal Baytaluk was driving a car with other students inside, all of whom were tossing eggs at a 9th grader. During the incident, Baytaluk also hit the younger student’s bicycle with his car, saying the younger student was “swerving,” presumably in an adrenaline-fuelled bid to escape his pursuers.

An adult witnessed the incident and reported it to school authorities. As a result, Mykal was expelled from Nepean High for the duration of the fall term and transferred to an alternate school for troubled students. Two other students in the car with Mykal were suspended from school for ten days. Mykal was also charged by the Ottawa police for failing to report an accident (a traffic violation, not a criminal charge.)

After Mykal’s punishment was meted out, did his fellow students reflect on the gravity of their actions, of the danger of chasing someone on a bicycle with a car, of the serious trauma bullying creates for the younger bullied child? No. Quite the opposite. They protested Mykal’s expulsion, calling it “unfair,” that 12th graders always “haze” 9th graders, that they were hazed themselves four years ago, and saying that if Mykal was expelled, they all should be expelled.

While I don’t necessarily disagree with the suggestion that all the bullies get expelled (because I have little patience for those who find picking on those smaller and weaker than them “fun”), a better option would be to put the excess energy these students obviously have to good use, such as doing community work cleaning up the eggs they threw, repairing the bicycles (and likely  much more other property) they’ve damaged, and generally learning that kindness and tolerance is their responsibility. Perhaps nobody stood up for these students when they were bullied as freshmen. Now the bullied have become the bullies. It’s time to end the cycle.

 

Related Stories:

Justice Department: Bullying a Big Concern

Anti-Bullying “Seth’s Law” Passes California Senate

Cornell Pledges To End Fraternity Hazing

 

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Photo Credit: Phillippe Put on Flickr.

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153 comments

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11:50AM PDT on Apr 10, 2012

Why is it people always say well it happened to me so it is ok. I think a lot of people are bitter and feel its their turn. Like some of you said they need to know its wrong and just because it happened to them doesnt make it right. How many generations of kids did this, are some of these parents thinking its ok because it was the norm when they were there. Well it seems bullying has grown over the years from name calling to shoving to egg, urine and bleach throwing. If some one runs away do these kids feel its ok to run over one of the younger students because it is their right to get in their year of bullying. It seems this has become the norm and it will be hard to change until a student dies. I hope this is the last year for this there because it could have easily been that boy run over and not just a dented bike.

9:55PM PST on Dec 1, 2011

A terrible situation. Noted.

11:21AM PDT on Oct 4, 2011

If the adults in the school & community haven't gotten up in arms about this "tradition," how are the 12th graders ever to realize that this is not an acceptable way to treat others? Yes, the bullies are at fault, but so are the adults.

11:58PM PDT on Sep 29, 2011

Throwing urine and bleach isn't too far? Hate to say, but that is also abusive, and chasing down a student and hitting them and not reporting it is called "hit and run" and OUGHT to be a crime, not just a traffic violation.

Then suspend them all, because it doesn't matter if they were hazed or not, this is escalating cycle of abuse, that is running rampant, and if the school doesn't stop it NOW, what will? A death? In that case shame on the parents for allowing this to happen. Maybe tough love would serve them good, and have the bullies spend the weekend inside with prisons, with hardened inmates. I think they'll think twice next time.

4:53AM PDT on Sep 27, 2011

Noted!

11:15PM PDT on Sep 26, 2011

I think hazing should be stopped, if that was what it was~~It could be an excuse for bullying??~~How long wil it take for schools to take action and crack down on these bullys??~~It seems bullying has become more rampant than when I was in school more than 30 yrs. ago!!

9:33AM PDT on Sep 26, 2011

I can see how the older students may see it as unfair when the school basically ignored their treatment when they first joined and only took action when someone outside the school complained.

6:44AM PDT on Sep 24, 2011

This hazing things has got to be stopped. And it needs to come from the parents, not the school. Obviously these kids have no discipline at home, when I was a teenager I had no inclination to hurt anyone, but if I had, I would have been deterred from doing it by knowing what my parents reaction would be. I think this is what's missing here.

5:04AM PDT on Sep 23, 2011

Lauren P. might have a point. perhaps some people expect everyone to like them, everyone to be their friend. Humans are weird. I still don't know if protecting a kid who is being made fun of for their favorite animal is the same as the gay, Jewish, black, whatever kid who is gets beaten up is a necessary action.

wow. i wish it were. I could of gotten those kids kicked out of school for picking on me for my cataboo,dolphinaboo,lizardaboo nature
(look up wolfaboo on your search engine)

11:58AM PDT on Sep 22, 2011

I think the problem of bullying lies on the shoulders of society. We have fought as parents and politicians to not allow the school or its teachers to discipline our children when they are naughty. I do not mean child abuse but I do think a slap on the butt might remind some children of their manners. Furthermore the government has stepped in and limited us as parents to discipline our children, today if you spank a child you can be arrested. Of course children our now taught at a very young age that they can report their parents if they get hit. Where that has left us is children no longer respect their parents, teachers or their elders. The children of this generation feel a sense of entitlement and that's why we are losing so many kids to drugs, teenage pregnancy, alcohol abuse and sexting just to name a few examples. The truth is we have lost all control in teaching our children boundaries all children need discipline. When I was a child I didn't talk back to my parents or my teachers the way kids do today because I knew the meaning of respect and if I did I knew I'd get my tush spanked. Thank you to my parents who instilled respect in me you we're wonderful. I just hope that it's not to late to change these ridiculous laws. We are losing an entire generation of children, if we are not allowed to teach are children whats right and wrong who will teach them I'd love to know.

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