St. John’s police break up hazing party at beach
Last Updated: Saturday, September 8, 2007 | 11:43 AM NT
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 â€” which has been a haven for teenagers’ parties for generations â€” 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.