Combatting School “Hazing” Requires Responsibility On Every Level


About ten years ago, a battle-weary veteran female Dade County (Florida) state’s attorney offered a remarkable quote when questioned by a reporter about a particular sex crime she had successfully prosecuted: “Half of my cases would disappear if kids were taught that you don’t suck a penis for a cookie.”

Needless to say, that prosecutor wasn’t one to mince words.

But she raises a point that should not be lost on the Maine Township High School District 207 administration as it seeks to investigate and address the kind of “hazing” that allegedly went on at Maine West High School: At what point does a “boy” or a “girl” become charged with the responsibility of understanding that having one’s orifice(s) penetrated with anything, whether by a classmate, teammate, coach or teacher, is NEVER an appropriate or acceptable element of a school activity?

Had that lesson been adequately taught and learned, we suspect we wouldn’t be writing this post.  And a number of students would not be scarred by the reprehensible conduct of fellow students.  And District 207 wouldn’t still be running the meter on attorneys and consultants to the tune of hundreds of thousands of dollars investigating that conduct and the alleged blind eyes of the coaches cast toward that conduct.

According to newspaper accounts of the situation, the five month-plus investigation into the alleged hazing of players on the Maine West boys’ soccer team already has cost the District approximately $115,000 of attorneys’ fees paid to a prominent Chicago law firm.  The District also has paid an undisclosed amount to California-based consultant Community Matters “to survey the climate of bullying, hazing and harassment in the district” and produce a 24-page report, which was delivered to school administrators in May and can be accessed through the D-207 website under Community Matters Presents Report.

And the District and/or its insurer is also burning cash in defending against a civil lawsuit for money damages filed by the victims of this hazing.

All because it appears that male soccer players at Maine West somehow thought that conduct described in news accounts as “sodomy” – which covers more than one kind of sex act – was okay.  Or because those players didn’t necessarily think it was okay, but they didn’t have sufficient courage and resolve to resist the peer pressure that reportedly endorsed it and encouraged it.  And because some coaches allegedly knew about this conduct but did nothing about it, a la the Penn State football program.

We find it difficult to fathom how this sort of “hazing” could occur to the extent and for the length of time it is alleged to have occurred.  We find it equally difficult to fathom how sheltered even a 14 year-old boy would have to be so as not to understand and appreciate the wrongness of this kind of conduct – from the perspective of either the perpetrator or the victim.

We’re not suggesting that the accused coaches don’t bear the principal responsibility for this situation if it is determined that they knew about this conduct and did nothing to stop it.  That would be deserving of criminal prosecution as well as termination; and, to borrow a page from the Mennonite playbook, shunning.

But the finding by the law firm investigating these incidents that staff at the District’s three high schools reported having less time to be in places where hazing and bullying incidents are likely to occur highlights the age-old adage that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

Just as there are not nearly enough attorneys and investigators in the Chicago U.S. Attorney’s office to investigate and prosecute all the incidents of political corruption in Chicago and Crook County, it is unlikely that D-207 will ever have enough staff to provide complete and seamless policing and prevention of all hazing and bullying that might occur.  It is, therefore, incumbent upon the students themselves to buy into and self-police a “zero tolerance” attitude toward such behavior.

That means the “kids” themselves are going to have to accept some responsibility for refraining from, resisting and reporting these kinds of abuse.  And their parents are going to have to accept some responsibility for impressing on their “kids” that this conduct is criminal and intolerable.  Aberrant behavior of any and every type must be rejected clearly, convincingly and consistently by our community as a whole.

The message must be unequivocal that the kind of behavior engaged in by those Maine West athletes is nothing remotely close to “boys being boys” or acceptable team-building activity.

With or without a cookie.

To read or post comments, click on title.

31 comments so far

Really, you’re blaming the victims here? The parents? The community? So you feel the same way about kids abused by Jerry Sandusky or their local parish priest? I’m at a loss for further comment.

EDITOR’S NOTE: We’re blaming the perps, first and foremost. Then the coaches, if they truly looked the other way. Then the victims for going along with it and not reporting it. And, finally, the parents for raising “kids” that would submit to such mistreatment and not report it. In that order of descending blame. The “community” gets a pass, unless Hillary Clinton were to tell us the “village” somehow dropped the ball, too.

But riddle us this, “loss for further comment” anon: How old does a “kid” have to be before he/she should be expected to say “No!” when somebody says he/she needs to get a finger (or a mop handle?) stuck up his/her keester as part of the initiation for making the team, or breaking into the starting lineup?

How old does a “kid” have to be before he/she should be expected to say “No!”

I don’t know that there’s a specific age that a person who is being victimized needs to be before he/she stands up to his/her abuser(s) who are threatening them. Are you kidding me? That’s akin to saying rape victims have no one but themselves to blame.

Hazing in high school, like at Maine West, is particularly egregious because the whole act preys on the insecurities and need for belonging and the approval of peers that most adolescents feel at such a vulnerable age.

I think it’s extremely naive and unrealistic to expect a cultural shift — because hazing is deeply ingrained in many aspects of our culture, from sports to the military — to happen quickly and simply as a result of a few parents stepping up and telling their kids to say “no.” Thankfully hazing will be on D207’s radar now — and perhaps kids will feel less intimidated about reporting incidents as a result — but in the meantime there has to be some policy development/enforcement around this issue. Maine West is hardly the first or only school to be doing this.

To quote “Hazing is a form of abuse and victimization. This is why it is crucial to promote anti-hazing education and support for victims at the middle and high school levels.”

EDITOR’S NOTE: If the Maine West “hazing” is comparable to “rape,” why didn’t the school district file criminal complaints against the “rapists” with the Crook County State’s Attorney; and why didn’t the State’s Attorney prosecute them?

If “hazing” is so “deeply ingrained in many aspects of our culture,” how come it hasn’t occurred to this extent in all the other sports at Maine West – or at the other Maine Twp high schools?

It is NEVER a kid’s fault when they are sexually abused!

EDITOR’S NOTE: Sounds like you’ve got yourself a slogan for a t-shirt.

Is it ANYBODY’s “fault” – no matter what their age – when they are sexually abused? Do kids – or adults, for that matter, have any responsibility for their own safety and well-being?

When adults abuse kids, you are correct. But to say that it’s “NEVER a kid’s fault” when he/she is abused by his/her peers is to effectively excuse and even encourage cowardice, apathy, low self-esteem, powerlessness and the culture of victimization.

The punks that did this are the ones that need to be held accountable. This is hazing run amok. The coach that saw this and did nothing needs to go to jail. The kids that did this need to go to jail. The parents of the kids that did this heinous activity need to pay a hefty fine.

Do you think that a kid saying ‘No’ when he is being pinned down would have stopped this from occurring? You don’t think that the kid was frightened or scared of being harmed if he went to the authorities? You don’t think the other kids on the bus were terrorized too? The undue influence, the bullying, the tactics used from verbal to physical to cyber, the nastiness of kids today, is so unbelievable that you just couldn’t contemplate how messed up society is unless you deal with it on a day to day basis.

There is a hell of a lot of information not public on this case that would make your skin crawl. This is not an isolated single incident at Maine West.

Wait until this goes through the court system for civil fines, if it doesn’t get settled. That’s when the real stuff will hit the proverbial fan.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Sorry, but we don’t put much stake in non-public information, especially about such vile, nasty and terroristic conduct that would “make your skin crawl” but that doesn’t warrant criminal prosecution of the juvenile perpetrators.

You know I was thinking, while I don’t wanna sound like chaos is a new thing, the world has always been imperfect, but I use to look through old PR newspapers from decades past at the library and while I don’t recall ever seeing such new stories, and chances are 0, or if such a thing did happen proper discipline would of taken place.

So what’s going on? If it’s not the head people of dist. 207, what is it with these coaches? Do they like chaos?

Whoa. You’re blaming the victims’ parents but not the parents of the perps? What about those parents teaching their kids what’s right and wrong? Or is it that Lord of the Flies syndrome just took over and these teens can’t be trusted to behave without nonstop supervision?

How ’bout this: The behavior described is exactly what “boys will be boys” has excused since time out of mind. And still does. Look at our lovely situation with some of our military, for one current example. The perps wouldn’t do what they did without tacit public consent that you do whatever you want and whatever you have to to be in with the bigger guys. Or gals.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Oops. You’re right, we blame the parents of the perps more than we blame the parents of the victims, notwithstanding the arguable symbiosis.

And you’re right about all that “tacit public consent” enjoyed by the U.S. military – as demonstrated by the way the “public” warmly embraced Lt. Calley and his Charlie Company buddies for what they did at My Lai; or the way the “public” delighted in the hi-jinks of those fun-loving MPs and CIA operatives at Abu Ghraib.

So how is it that all these mitigating factors (kids responsibility, victims responsibility, parents responsibility, lack of staff to be able to keep kids from being hazed) all appear to be soooooo reasonable to you in this tragic case, and yet many of these very same factors, when they apply to test scores, are only excuses??

EDITOR’S NOTE: What “mitigating factors”? Asking why the perps and the coaches who are guilty of engaging in and condoning what commentators have branded as “rape” and sexual abuse aren’t being criminally prosecuted, and raising the specter of parents and victims perhaps bearing some responsibility for this situation, are viewed by you as “mitigating factors”? Seriously?

Now you’ve gone and done it, Dog. YOu’ve offended the Victims R Us crowd. Poor babies, varsity athletes, being terrorized and intimidated by their fellow classmates who pinned them down and stuck things in their whozits. U insensitive bastard.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Yes we have. And yes we are.

As we see it, if you’re a 14 year old Maine West soccer player, you’ve got three choices: (1) stick up for yourself and resist being buggered; (2) acquiesce, but report your abuse to the proper authorities; or (3) acquiesce, and stay silent.

Only the first 2 are acceptable. Any “kid” who chooses (3) isn’t a “victim” but, instead, an aider, abetter and enabler of the perpetrators. Is that harsh? Maybe. But if this country had been populated by nothing but victims, we’d be Britannia West today.

@11:38, nice. Your attitude is a perfect example of why incidents like this continue to occur. Enlightening our “community as a whole,” as PWD advocates, will continue to be an uphill battle as long as it’s filled with ignorant jerks like you who have no clue. Kids are not only not learning to say no and stand up for what’s right, they’re learning that it’s OK to bully, intimidate and victimize.

EDITOR’S NOTE: We’re not sure we know exactly where you’re coming from, but we’re tired of the wimp brigade that wants to excuse and cover for kids who won’t say “no” and fight back against the tyranny of the bully or the hazer, and who won’t even report the bullying and the tyranny to the proper authority.

Let’s call that what it really is: cowardice. Is that what we want to excuse, encourage and teach our kids?

You are the one who brought up all these factors in your post as a way of “mitigating” the responsibility of the schools for kids (yes 14 year olds are still kids) when they are in their care. Like it or not, peoples expectations when they entrust their kids to D207 is that they will not be at the wrong end of a broom handle. You offer all these mitigating factors about kids responsibility and parents responsibility. In other words in your mind it does not all fall on the school and there are many other things at play…….well of course there are!!!!!!!

That is unless it centers around rating and PAYING teachers…..if that is the topic not a single one of these factors is valid.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Sure it falls on the school to maintain a reasonable level of safety for the kids, but that doesn’t give kids carte blanche to act irresponsibly, stupidly, criminally, or cowardly – and then blame the school for the outcomes.

But from the sound of your comment, you’re more concerned about how teachers and administrators do school policing than you are about how they do their teaching.

“Let’s call that what it really is: cowardice. Is that what we want to excuse, encourage and teach our kids?”

Excuse me for repeating myself, but are you kidding me? I’m all for personal responsibility and for teaching our kids the difference between right and wrong but when a kid or a teen is being threatened, intimidated and coerced by someone entrusted to be responsible for their well-being, who can blame them for being afraid to speak out?

OF COURSE we want our kids to report bullying. But rarely is it so simple, as other have pointed out, when this kind of abusive behavior is culturally ingrained.

I’m sorry but dismissing this whole thing by calling the victims cowards is not productive if we want to educate and enlighten our community.

EDITOR’S NOTE: We’re unaware of any evidence that coaches or teachers actually engaged in the hazing, or responded to any complaints about it with threats, intimidation or coercion of the complainer(s).

So we will repeat, without any excuses, that if a kid/teen doesn’t resist and/or report bullying, especially by other kids/teens, he/she is a COWARD. As even Gandhi recognized: “Fear has its use, but cowardice has none.”

People stay silent because of fear. Fear that they will be subjected to more violent torment from the bully. Fear that the rapist will do more harm once they are out of prison. You call them cowards because they are afraid. I call them victims because they have been harmed.

You don’t want the truth, because deep down in places you don’t talk about at parties, you want victims to stay silent. You use words like “coward”, “silent”, “enabler”. We use these words as the backbone of a prosecuting criminals. You use them as a punchline.

I have neither the time nor the inclination to explain myself to a man who rises and sleeps under the blanket of freedom, and then questions the victim and not the criminal! I would rather you just said “throw the book at the criminals”, and went on your way. Otherwise, I suggest you get a job at a school, and stand a post. Either way, I don’t give a damn what you think you know about right and wrong!

EDITOR’S NOTE: Spoken like a high priest(ess) of victimhood, so self-absorbed in the ministry of fear as to have missed our advocacy for criminal prosecution – IF there is sufficient evidence to support such a prosecution.

Martin Luther King, Jr. once said that “we must build dikes of courage to hold back the flood of fear.” From the sound of your comments, you’ve already evacuated.

“We’re unaware of any evidence that coaches or teachers actually engaged in the hazing, or responded to any complaints about it with threats, intimidation or coercion of the complainer(s).”

Sigh. Knowing how close the relationships between coaches and athletes can be, having experienced it myself as a varsity athlete at a D207 school a couple decades ago, I find it very hard to believe that the coaches in question were completely in the dark.

And, even if in the unlikely event the coaches somehow managed to remain completely clueless about the hazing, an older student hazing a younger student is just as egregious — and, I’d imagine, just as difficult to stand up and just say “no” to. There’s a big difference between most 14 and and 18 year olds, physically and socially/emotionally.

On flip side, there are bright spots in the world of D207 athletics. A friend’s daughter is an incoming freshman at another 207 school (not Maine West) and is joining the swim team. She was assigned a mentor from the varsity squad to help show her the ropes and has proven to be nothing but friendly, encouraging and supportive. No hazing rituals or drunken forest preserve parties (which, if I recall correctly, was a parent-approved tradition at some North Shore high school until recently exposed) are being forced upon her. And hopefully that situation is far more typical of what happens at our schools than what happened at Maine West.

EDITOR’S NOTE: We have not suggested that coaches didn’t know; and we hope they will be held to account for that knowledge and how they reacted to it.

A 14 year old standing up to an 18 year old might be too challenging for some/many/most. But not standing up to the 18 year old and also not reporting the bullying or hazing is nothing but cowardice.

What I am pointing out (or to use your word concerned about) is the lack of consistency in your argument. I am actually very concerned about both but there is much about factors you point out that I absolutely agree with.

I think you went completely overboard with the calling year olds cowards….but that was completely in persona.

Unlike you, I think many of these same factors can dramatically affect test scores. To use your words, that does not mean that parents and students can not act irresponsibly related to their studies and raising their kids and blame the school for the outcome.

You want to give a only a piece of the blame for this incident to teachers but all the blame for test scores.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Let’s try this one more time: If any coaches or teachers knew of this hazing and did nothing to stop it, they should be FIRED! And if they violated any criminal laws, the should be PROSECUTED. And if the bullies and abusers violated any criminal laws, THEY should be PROSECUTED.


Teachers are hired and paid to TEACH, and one of the most commonly accepted ways of measuring their effectiveness is with test scores. If you want teachers to also become substitute cops, parents and social workers because their students don’t have the courage to either resist or report bullying and abuse, then be willing to accept lower academic achievement and/or 12-hour school days.

We’re not.

I know everything comes down to dollars and cents to you but the mind of a child is a complex thing and blaming the victims if sexual abuse is a new low. Educate yourself:

EDITOR’S NOTE: It doesn’t cost a dime to stand up for yourself; or, failing that, to report bullying/hazing.

As for your Psychology Today article, this editor prefers preventing bullying/hazing and the resulting victimization – by the recipients either standing up for themselves and/or reporting the behavior – instead of wringing one’s hands over all the reasons why boys are afraid, and then embarking on yet more convoluted and expensive social engineering to compensate for and treat that fear and victimization.

But that’s probably also a “new low” to you.

Kids have committed suicide because of being bullied. You would call these kids that killed themselves cowards. I would say that these kids needed help.

You say it doesn’t cost a dime to stand up to bullying or hazing. Hmmm…

How many kids / victims have stood up to bullies and paid for it with their life? You think that jails don’t have a ton of people that were / are bullies. The victims standing up against them are now dead. That’s a huge price to pay.

EDITOR’S NOTE: And Schopenhauer would call them the ultimate self-determinists. Potayto, potahto.

We have no idea how many kids have stood up to bullies and paid for it with their lives, but we’d be willing to bet far fewer than those who didn’t stand up to bullies and committed suicide.

It does all come down to dollars and cents to you. Thinking we could have saved a few bucks on legal fees if only the parents in D207 had done a better job of educating its kids to stand up to hazing? I’ve always enjoyed your blog — and have no problems when your and others opinions differ from mine — but this is truly a new low.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Not exactly. The taxpayers could have saved over $100,000 – not merely a “few bucks” to most of us – if parents had raised their kids neither to haze nor to tolerate hazing, whether directed at themselves or at others; and to report it when it occurs if it can’t be stopped at the source.

And that’s the way most kids were raised until about 30 years ago, when hazing and bullying were nowhere near the problem they are today.

Of course preventing victimization is preferred! I’ve told my kids that a punch in the nose or kick to the family jewels, when necessary, is an appropriate response. I hope I’ve fostered a relationship with them that makes them feel comfortable bringing their concerns to me. As the article states, casting victims of assault “cowards” is precisely one of the reasons that boys don’t report.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Let’s not start conflating concepts here. We aren’t “casting victims of assault [as] ‘cowards'” – we’re casting those who don’t resist the assault AND who also don’t report it as “cowards.” Many victims of assault resist vigorously, but unsuccessfully. They aren’t cowards. Other victims may not resist, but they report. We don’t consider them cowards, either.

But when you don’t resist OR report, you’ve more than earned your big “C” letter sweater.


You hit the bulls eye!!! When it is a paying for law suit against the school district there is suddenly all this discussion of parental responsibility and the “kids” responsibility but when it comes to paying teachers none of these things even exist anymore.

EDITOR’S NOTE: So you’re equating wasting $100,000 on legal fees to investigate a stupid and intolerable hazing situation with paying teachers annually-increasing sums of money (millions) for 8 months of work each year that produces student test results which rank nowhere near the ranking of those teachers’ and administators’ compensation?

Anon- 1:41 If you are a parent of a D-64 or D-207 and you equate ridiculous teacher pay to excellent education….you’re insane.

Could you imagine if we actually paid good teachers and fired bad ones? Could you imagine if we didn’t pay gym teachers 100k + benefits and pensions and paid a true market value for them?

With proper market pay, class sizes would be cut, technology could be easily introduced and there would be accountability.

Circling back to this topic…it’s about accountability and todays parents/kids. But, don’t try to throw in teacher union scripts in a discussion without you being called out. I think it’s pretty clear what was going on wasn’t kosher. That wasn’t hazing, it was illegal.

I do not equate teacher pay to education anymore than I equate excellent education to test scores.

By the way, you are gonna need some facts to back up your theory on what “market pay” (what every the hell you consider that to be) would do. You are operating under the assumption that every teacher at D64 and D207 would get a pay cut. I would bet that your “market” would indicate that some of the teachers are actually underpaid.

The kicker in your dream world is that you assume that if there was this huge savings it would be reinvested in more teachers and technology. The reality is those screaming the loudest about this issue would not want to reinvest the savings anyway.

Thank you, PW, for pointing out something that I think many Park Ridge residents feel about today’s society and its endless efforts to enlarge the nanny state.

The way to deal with bullying is for parents to teach their kids not to bully and to stand up to the bully, both individually and collectively. That will reduce or eliminate bullying without the need for attorneys investigating, psychologists counseling, and sociologists doing whatever it is they actually do besides get paid.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Thanks, but we think human history demonstrates that almost all these points had been self-evident until about 30 or so years ago – which seems to coincide with the rise of the faux self-esteem movement and the dumbing-down of society generally, despite the explosion in information accessibility.

Anon 6:21- Do you believe a Gym teacher should get paid 100k + benefits + pension to coordinate duck duck goose, square dancing and kick ball? Our Parks have great programs that do that for a fraction of that cost.

I don’t believe you need a doctorate in economics to realize that’s insane.

Anon 6:17 You hit in right on the head. Unfortunately, many parents in todays world see no wrong that their children do. Even worse, they are scared of disciplining them, so the rest of the society has to deal with them. Many parents substitute pacifying kids for parenting kids, because it’s easier.
This makes many of them grow up with no reasoning skills or accountability for their actions or lack of.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Hey, watch it – our schools pride themselves on teaching kids “critical thinking” rather than rote facts. That’s why they don’t do so well on standardized tests like the ISATs, which apparently are beneath our young critical thinkers.

Unfortunately, trying to critically think without sufficient relevant facts is like bricklaying without bricks and mortar.

Anon 9:44 AM Your Colonel Nathan R. Jessup impersonation is pitiful. The Colonel would have the balls to sign his name.

There is a civil case against both the coach and the school district.

In NY, the city and police department paid $8.7 million dollars when a cop sodomized a Haitian immigrant with a broom stick.

What do you think the payout will be for district 207? $200k in legal fees could end up a small amount versus what the kid might win in court.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Unless it can be shown that the coach(es) rather than the players actually did the sodomizing – which we don’t believe has even been alleged – that damages shouldn’t be that high for what probably will be negligent or reckless supervision.

We also understand that D-207 has insurance that may cover any award/settlement and the attorneys’ fees. But that might mean a bigger premium going forward.

To OMG WTF….at least you got the reference. The blogger here totally missed it.

From ‘A Few Good Men’.

Until you published this post I had never thought about this hazing situation as you have presented it. Like many others, I automatically blamed just the coaches and wondered whether other staff may have been negligent as well. But you have made me think about the individual responsibility of kids and parents to develop basic value systems that don’t include hazing/bullying and tolerance of hazing/bullying. By the time a kid is 14 years old that kind of value system should be in place, but apparently it wasn’t in this case.

Good points, PW.

EDITOR’S NOTE: One commentator referred to “Lord of the Flies syndrome.” If true, that would be an even stronger indictment of the kids’ upbringing – and their parents – than we’ve offered.

According to a June 3, 2013, report by ABC/WLS News, “[p]rosecutors in the criminal cases say multiple soccer players were sodomized with fingers or sticks by older teammates.” Assuming those allegations are true, what kind of value system do any of those kids – the sodomizers, the non-resisting/non-reporting victims, and the non-intervening/non-reporting bystanders – have?

That same report quotes the attorney suing the coaches and the school on behalf of one of the victims thusly: “These are minors and children involved, and they look up to adults to know and to believe what the right thing is.” So…at ages 14-18, a kid needs to “look up to” A SPORTS COACH for guidance on whether there’s anything wrong with sticking his finger or a stick in some unwilling victim’s behind? Or to stand by and watch it happen, neither trying to stop it nor reporting it? Or to let it happen to himself without resisting or reporting it?


I buy what you’re saying…up to a point. I think you’re oversimplifying. Otherwise hazing wouldn’t be so culturally widespread, from fraternities to the military to, as this case shows, athletics. Are you saying every person who’s gone along with being hazed in any of these scenarios simply didn’t have the proper upbringing? That’s a lot of people that cut a wide swath culturally and demographically. What’s more, hazing has been happening for far longer than the past 30 years or so that you believe we as a society have taken a steep downturn, as you mentioned in another comment.

I’m not saying that “better parenting” doesn’t have a role in this case. In fact a friend who is studying for a master’s in education was doing some observations at a north shore middle school and the teachers she spoke to said their number one obstacle to effectively educating their students was lack of parental involvement.

Even in affluent areas, too many parents don’t have their eye on the ball with what’s going on with their kids. I see it myself here in Park Ridge all too often. So I guess I’m circling back to your original point that in general we as parents and a community do need to be more vigilant in teaching our kids proper values. I don’t, however, agree with simply brushing off the victims in this case as cowards.

EDITOR’S NOTE: The Merriam-Webster on-line dictionary defines “coward” as: “one who shows disgraceful fear or timidity.” Not resisting or reporting having a finger or a stick shoved up one’s buttocks as part of the participation in a school team sport would seem to fit that description, as evidenced by several commentators’ repeated attempts at completely excusing the fearful submission to that abuse AND the fearful failure to report it to parents and/or the proper authorities.

We don’t care how long hazing has been happening. It’s an unacceptable practice that arguably has continued to this day primarily BECAUSE too many participants, victims and bystanders have not been inculcated with a value system that finds such conduct abhorrent and intolerable.

Finally, let’s not conflate what North Shore teachers reportedly bemoan as “lack of parental involvement” in the educational process (to excuse or mitigate their own underperformance as teachers?) with parents’ failing to inculcate basic values in their children. The two are neither interchangeable nor inextricably linked.

The Merriam-Webster online dictionary defines a “bully” as: “a blustering browbeating person ; especially : one habitually cruel to others who are weaker .” Psychologically vulnerable children are not cowards but PW appears to be a bully.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Are you feeling particularly victimized today? Or just more intellectually dishonest than usual?

YOur response to 12:29 was literally incredible. You truly believe that 30 years ago there was less hazing/bullying/sexual harassment?

Really? 30 years ago you were 28 or so. Cast your mind back. Now imagine non-white Americans, homosexual Americans, and that least-deserving, biggest victimized class of all, female Americans. Ask any of them at random whether there was less abuse back then, or whether we (any of the above now-semi-protected-classes) used to just swallow their tears and rage, suck it up, and go on, because to complain would bring on more victimization — some of it from official sources. The only thing that’s still in the pre-30-years-ago world is your brain.

EDITOR’S NOTE: We sure do…because 30 years ago (and earlier) the term “bullying” didn’t include that growth industry known as “cyber-bullying” via e-mail, Facebook, Twitter, etc.; nor did it include things like mere insults, frowns, and whispering behind somebody’s back that they’re a “doody head.”

Now, if you want to conflate the “bullying”/”hazing” that went on at Maine West with unlawful DISCRIMINATION based on race, gender, or sexual orientation, have at it – so long as you recognize the intellectual dishonesty of doing so, at least based on what facts about the Maine West situation are currently known. But if that’s the way you roll, then you should call on the U.S. Dept. of Justice to investigate the Maine West incidents on the off-chance that the victims weren’t being merely “bullied” or “hazed” but unconstitutionally discriminated against. After they’re done investigating Zimmerman for unlawful racial discrimination in the Trayvon shooting.

oh, horse manure. You know dang well I was not talking about saying “doody head” but about physical menace or threat of menace, which even you, being an attorney, know is considered “assault;” and actual smacking(if non-white or gay) or grabbing (if female) that is known in legal land as “battery.” That happened, Bob. I know you can’t imagine it, but it did happen, a lot; even back in the golden age when I liked Ike.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Sorry, Anonymous, but this editor just assumed you were one of those gentle souls who revels in the social acceptability of considering oneself a 24/7 “victim” and perceiving “physical menace or threat of menace” at every turn.

Fortunately, all those helicopter parents haven’t cornered the market on bubble wrap for their kids – we hear it’s available in adult sizes, too.

We make NO excuses for physical molesters, abusers, bullies and hazers. If they’ve committed an “assault” or a “battery,” they should be criminally prosecuted. But that gets us back to our original point: if the “victims” don’t resist and/or report such conduct, they’re part of the problem and enablers of the perpetrators’ future abusive conduct.

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