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East Carter HS puts hazing behind them without suficient regard to victim needs, says parent

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Ellsinore, MO: KFVS Special Report
Mother of Alleged Hazing Victim Speaks Out

Oct 11, 2007 09:11 PM

Mother of Alleged Hazing Victim Speaks Out
By: Crystal Britt

ELLSINORE, Mo. -  The mother of an alleged hazing victim speaks out for the first time.  The East Carter High School basketball team went to camp in June at Lyon College in Batesville, Arkansas.  Soon after, eleven boys ages 13 and 14 came forward accusing six 15 to 17 year olds of sexual related hazing on the trip.  Those six kids have since been charged in juvenile court and are suspended from school.

Now four months after the incident, a mother of one of the victims is speaking out.

“In my mind and the minds of other parents, this goes way beyond hazing,” Paulette Yates said.

She didn’t think twice about sending her 14-year-old son off to basketball camp.  Those three days away from home though changed everything.  Paulette heard from another parent what happened off the court.  That’s when she confronted her son.

“His first reaction…who told? Because they were threatened,” Yates said.  She wouldn’t detail what happened for fear of embarrassing her son and others, but says it was bad.

“It’s sad when young men have their bodies violated, their minds violated, their homes are violated, their dignity is violated,” Yates said.

Two other parents of two different boys showed up at our interview with Paulette Yates to support her.  They stood quietly behind our camera.  Right now, the victims’ families are discouraged with the legal system and the school district.  This week the school held appeals hearings for two of the suspended boys where the victims had to retell what was a very painful experience.

“I think our boys as victims could have been treated with more dignity and respect,” Yates said.

The school’s attorney, Tom Mickes, says the process was necessary and legal.  Those appeals by the way, were denied.  The accused boys can’t come back to school.  School leaders say they’ve done everything they can and have moved forward.  However, the victims’ parents haven’t.

“It’s been hard for us as parents, but I can’t even imagine what’s going through my son’s mind,” said Yates.

It’s something that is not only felt at home and at school, but in public.

“This is a small town and it’s hard for everyone all around…the victim’s, perpetrators and parents on both sides.  I pray for these parents like I pray for our parents.  They’re just going through a different kind of hell than we are,” she said.
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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.

One reply on “East Carter HS puts hazing behind them without suficient regard to victim needs, says parent”

A gentlemen from Cornell University was willing to come to the East Carter school and do a two day workshop with teachers, students and staff to address the issues of hazing and bullying in our schools. The cost of the workshops usually runs about $5,000 for two days, and he said he would come to our school for free because of the recent events surrounding our sports program. Our administration said that we did not need a program such as this because “we were putting that behind us not.” The administration said that such a program would just keep the issue on the front burner and not let anyone get over it and get on with their lives. It is my opinion that this type of reaction from the administration is one of the major problems surrounding the events that have affected our school in the past. The administration wanting to “sweep everything under the rug,” is a huge reason the actions of those boys were allowed to get so out of control. The administration at East Carter needs to get their heads out of the sand, stand up for these kids, and put some plans into action to stop any such acts from occuring in the future.

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