or, yet another reason to home school. From the what-are-these-people-thinking department (emphasis down below mine, all mine):
To mark the start of the school year, parents here [in Sedgewick, Alberta, 180 km southeast of Edmonton] say a group of new Grade 10 students were invited to a bush party, tied by their wrists to a bridge with their pants and shorts pulled down, and flogged by older schoolmates.
Some Central High Sedgewick Public School students allegedly used belt buckles, vehicle antennae, broken hockey sticks and bats to beat the bare backsides of the incoming sophomores in a so-called “initiation” last Friday night.
One teen is said to have swung a bat wrapped with the same abrasive material used to line truck beds. Another allegedly wielded a cheese grater taped to a piece of wood.
“After 10 to 15 minutes of this beating, that they call paddling, someone from Grade 12 finally stepped in and said enough,” the parent of one of the beaten boys said. “Supposedly when they were all done and they finally released these children, then they gave them alcohol and said they earned their respect.”
RCMP have heard rumours of such hazings for new Central High students in the past. But officers had not received a complaint until last weekend, when someone came forward who was “directly involved.”
However, that complainant has been unco-operative with investigators since their initial complaint. Police are unable to get on the record a single witness to the hazing, despite reports that more than 100 people were at the party.
At least five teens were beaten, with some left bleeding. Some reportedly had trouble sitting down. …
The victims have been reluctant to come forward because they fear it will result in alienation from their peers, said one child’s mother. Her son has told her that since the initial complaint to RCMP, some who were hazed have been threatened with violence if they snitch.
The mother said they decided as a family not to give police a statement.
“We talked extensively about the repercussions,” she said. “This is a small community. I can’t protect him 24/7.”
Central High Sedgewick Public School is the only high school in the area and students from K-9 schools in neighbouring towns are bused in when they start Grade 10.
The party to end the summer was held Aug. 28 off a gravel road about eight kilometres north of Killam, in a popular spot called “Bridge,” where area teens have been drinking for decades.
The old wooden bridge to which the students were apparently tied spans a stagnant creek, surrounded by high grass littered with countless empties of cheap domestic beer. There’s also a massive firepit, full of more empties and the blackened springs of a mattress.
The mother who spoke to The Journal said she debated letting her son go to the party. He thought there would be some form of hazing, maybe a quick paddling, but felt he better to go and get it over with than skip the party and risk alienation when school started Aug. 31.
According to another article also in The Edmonton Journal,
“Just people getting paddled. I don’t think it’s a big deal,” [one 10th grade student] told Global News. “It was fine with me. It didn’t bother me at all.” …
RCMP are aware of reports that a similar party is planned for students from nearby Forestburg and Daysland this weekend.
St. Albert RCMP have laid numerous hazing charges against high school teens in recent years.
Fourteen St. Albert teens were charged last year for ritual paddlings police said took place at the end of the 2008 school year and involved students from Paul Kane High School, St. Albert Catholic High School and Bellerose Composite High School.
Eight students said they were paddled by older peers, with some suffering bruising, redness and bleeding on their buttocks and upper legs.
In each incident, the victims were instructed to go to various locations, such as a forested park or a friend’s basement, where they knew they would be hazed.
A year later, four other St. Albert teens were charged after two Grade 9 students were alleged paddled on the buttocks with a shortened goalie stick, leaving bruises.