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Illicit CP - June 2003

Halifax Herald, Novia Scotia, 24 June 2003

Sydney-area teens spanked

Police get complaints about school initiation ritual involving paddles

By Matt Hunt Gardner

More teens in Cape Breton are being spanked by older teens, Cape Breton Regional Police say.

Police reported Monday they are again receiving complaints of high school students hunting down younger teens and hitting them with wooden paddles in a form of hazing or initiation ritual.

This time the complaints are coming from the Coxheath and Whitney Pier areas of Sydney. "The attacks in most cases are on students who are leaving junior high school and who will be entering high school in September," Const. Nick Denny said in a news release.

Shortly after 1 p.m. last Thursday, three older boys pulled up alongside a group of young boys on Anderson Avenue in Coxheath, near Riverview Rural High School, jumped out of their wine-coloured van and reportedly whacked the younger boys' backsides with homemade wooden paddles.

Police are investigating and charges may be laid.

Hazing is often thought of as a silent crime because victims rarely want to come forward and accuse the aggressors.

When school started this year, one of Riverview Rural's vice-principals found a large paddle that two boys had used to initiate a fellow student near the school. The discovery brought to light a hazing ritual that had been going on at Riverview for years. Two teens were suspended and given counselling and the school has installed surveillance cameras in its hallways.

Riverview administrators have found several paddles near the school in the past. Some have been sawed-off goalie sticks, resembling cricket bats. The one found in September was about the size of a racquetball racquet, cut out of wood about three centimetres thick.

Const. Denny believes the idea for the practice comes from the movie Dazed and Confused, in which similar paddling occurs.

"This may seem fun but it surely is not fun to the recipient who has been assaulted."

In September, a former Riverview student who didn't want to be named admitted he had paddled younger students.

"Yeah, we did it, me and my friends," he said. "It was done to us, but when it happened, we knew we'd be able to do the same thing when we got older."

Two years ago, a hazing ritual at a Halifax high school left one student with a broken wrist and several others with cuts and bruises when older students smeared Grade 10 students with food and beat them with oars and paddles.

Copyright 2003 The Halifax Herald Limited

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