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St. John’s police break up hazing party at beach
Last Updated: Saturday, September 8, 2007 | 11:43 AM NT
CBC News

Police broke up a suspected hazing ritual involving almost 100 teenagers on Friday night, at a beach just outside St. John’s.

Students arrived at Middle Cove Beach at about 8 p.m., some carrying hockey sticks and lumber for a school initiation ceremony called paddling.

Officials at Gonzaga High School in St. John’s cautioned students on Friday to avoid the annual ritual, in which Grade 10 students are struck on their behinds with sticks and other objects.

Hazing has been a perennial problem at other schools. Last year, in Gander, one student was struck so severely that he had trouble walking.

Despite warnings, scores of teenagers arrived at Middle Cove Beach — which has been a haven for teenagers’ parties for generations — and quickly lit small fires. Some brought alcohol.

Families that had been on the beach, some with small children, left as the teenagers arrived.
The Royal Newfoundland Constabulary was notified about the hazing, and arrived at about 10 p.m.

Two patrol cars and three officers arrived at about 10 p.m. There was no confrontation, though. Once the officers made their presence known, teens started to leave and the beach cleared.

On Friday, just as Gonzaga officials were warning students about the hazards of hazing, Education Minister Joan Burke told about 600 students at Bishops College High School to not tolerate bullying or aggressive behaviour.

The provincial government is reviving an anti-bullying campaign, which will include a series of radio and television spots which will air over the next two months.

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. 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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