Hazing News

Up Hazing’s creek without a paddle

Four St. Albert teens get probation for hazing incidents
Keith Gerein,
Published: Tuesday, March 03, 2009

ST. ALBERT – Four St. Albert teenagers were sentenced Tuesday for their role in a series of hazing incidents in which younger students were “paddled” with broken goalie sticks and cricket bats.

The 16-year-olds, who cannot be named, received between four and six months’ probation, and were each ordered to write letters of apology to their victims, as well as a 1,000-word essay on how the community can stop further hazing.

“It’s clear this is a problem in the community,” youth court Judge Patricia Kvill said in delivering her sentence to one of the young men. “Lots of young people are worried about what will happen to them when they go to high school.”
A variety of homemade paddles and bats confiscated from hazing incidents over the years are displayed by St. Albert RCMP.
A variety of homemade paddles and bats confiscated from hazing incidents over the years are displayed by St. Albert RCMP.
Codie McLachlan
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A total of 14 St. Albert teens were initially charged in the case, after eight students told police they were hit on the buttocks with broken goalie sticks, cricket bats and homemade paddles.

A number of the younger students were left with bruising, redness and in some cases, bleeding on their buttocks and upper legs.

The alleged incidents occurred in May and June last year and involved students from Paul Kane High School, St. Albert Catholic High School and Bellerose Composite High School.

All of the accused were initially charged with at least one count of assault with a weapon, but the four teens sentenced Tuesday pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of assault.

Kvill acknowledged their roles in the paddlings were relatively minor, but said she didn’t feel it was sufficient to hand out just a reprimand, as two other teens previously received. The Crown is currently appealing those reprimands in the hopes of securing harsher sentences

“An aggravating factor is the effect these types of incidents have on the community,” Crown prosecutor Jasmine Grewal said. “Because of these incidents, the youth are fearful. It affects quality of life, leaving them wondering if they are going to be froshed or not.”

Most of the teens said they had been paddled themselves the year before, and thought it was simply a rite of passage.

“My client was froshed himself, and received 28 blows,” one defence lawyer said. “He accepted it as part of the transition from junior high to senior high school.”

The cases heard Tuesday were similar in nature, in which small numbers of younger students were instructed to go to various locations, including a forested area or someone’s basement, where they knew they would be hazed by a group of older students.

Four other accused paddlers appeared in court Tuesday, but their cases were pushed back to various dates in April, July and August. Another teen had all charges dropped against him.

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-- and in his weekly column "Far from Randolph" in the Winchester Star-Gazette of Randolph County, Indiana.

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