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ANDREW NASH The Morning Sun finds Missouri superintendents are more aware of hazing “nightmare”

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I like this part where a school administrator makes no bones that out-of-school hazing will be dealt with. Good for him.

EXCERPT follows from an article worth clipping for coaches and administrators:

Perhaps the most unique approach belongs to Pittsburg USD 250. Pittsburg students must sign a bullying prevention contract as freshmen.

“As freshmen, they sign it and parents have to sign the back of it,” said Destry Brown, USD 250 superintendent. “New students that come into the district have to sign it, too. Each year, the principals meet with each of the classes and remind everybody about those things and the code of conduct we expect.”

Brown said that he is only aware of one incident where the contracts have been necessary, in a case that “wasn’t a large deal, but it could have been if we hadn’t nipped it in the bud.” USD 250 also has a specific anti-bullying task force that is keeping a watchful eye on the district, making new recommendations and keeping track of trends in the district.

None of the other superintendents said they knew of any particular incidents related to hazing at their schools.

But some superintendents said preventing a hazing incident such as the one that is emerging involving Seneca is always on their minds.

“That is a nightmare for any school district,” said Glenn Fortmayer, Southeast USD 247 superintendent. “Our level of response is consistently that we do not have a zero tolerance policy exactly, but we will evaluate each incident independently. If the actions were equal, they get equal punishment. But sometimes the consequences are worthy of sending a message that we don’t tolerate it and we don’t make exceptions.”

The Seneca incident occurred on an off-campus football camp. But that doesn’t mean the long arm of the student handbook does not extend across state or county lines.

“First of all, any type of trip that kids from USD 250 are involved with, we have the expectations of supervisors watching at all times,” Brown said. “If it did happen, it would be treated like it was on campus. It’s an extension of our school policies any time they are representing our school.”

By Hank Nuwer

Hank Nuwer is the Indiana-based author of Broken Pledges: The Deadly Rite of Hazing, High School Hazing, Wrongs of Passage and The Hazing Reader. He has written articles or columns on hazing for the Sunday Times of India, Toronto Globe & Mail, Harper's Magazine, Orlando Sentinel, The Chronicle of Higher Education and the New York Times Sunday Magazine. His new book is Hazing: Destroying Young Lives from Indiana University Press.

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