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Hazing News

Austin Power struggle

By TOM HARRIS
KVUE News

The first day of classes at Austin High School were disrupted Monday morning by some hazing of the new freshman students.

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Dozens of vehicles had derogatory phrases written all over them.

Words like “bow down” and “fish die” were scribbled across the windows of numerous cars and trucks at Austin High School.

Students like Jacob Sellman, junior, say they were sending a message.

“Trying to intimidate all of the freshmen a little bit make them scared, you know?” he said.

Students say the hazing didn’t stop at the parking lot. Victoria Jackson says it was a mess.

“They were throwing mice, crickets and everything. There were stink bombs — they were being nasty,” she said.

KVUE News was told classes started about an hour late because of the hazing, and several students were suspended. Austin ISD brought in extra security officers to make sure things didn’t get more out of hand.

High school senior Chloe Wallace say the principal also stepped in to try and get kids to class.

“When we got into school, we threw confetti up. We had thrown stink bombs, fire crackers — he was pretty mad,” Wallace said. “We were running around the school. Yeah, he was pretty mad.”

Many of the students who spoke to KVUE News say a little intimidation and hazing has always been a part of the high school experience, and they are just carrying on the tradition.

“It’s just the whole game, you know?” said Sellman. “If you are going to be in high school, you have got to go on with your day. It’s just high school I guess.”

An AISD spokesperson says the district does not support any type of hazing but could not comment specifically on this incident because it remains under review.

By Hank Nuwer

Journalist Hank Nuwer is the Alaska author of Hazing: Destroying Young Lives; Broken Pledges: The Deadly Rite of Hazing, High School Hazing, Wrongs of Passage and The Hazing Reader. In April of 2024, the Alaska Press Club awarded him first place in the Best Columnist division and Best Humorist, second place.

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 current book is Hazing: Destroying Young Lives from Indiana University Press. He is married to Malgorzata Wroblewska Nuwer of Warsaw, Poland and Fairbanks, Alaska. Nuwer is a former columnist for the Greenville (Ohio)Early Bird and former managing editor of the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner in Alaska.
Nuwer was named the Ohio Society of Professional Journalists columnist of the year in 2021 for his “After Darke” column in the Early Bird. He also won third place for the column in 2022 from the Indiana chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. He and his wife Gosia, recently of Union City, Ind., have owned 20 acres in Alaska for many years. “The move is a sort-of coming home for us,” said Nuwer. As a journalist, he’s written about the Alaskan Iditarod sled-dog race and other Alaska topics. Read his musings in his blog at Real Alaska Daily--http://realalaskadaily.com and in his weekly column "Far from Randolph" in the Winchester Star-Gazette of Randolph County, Indiana.

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