Hazing News

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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

Hank Nuwer is the Indiana-based 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 new book is Hazing: Destroying Young Lives from Indiana University Press.

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