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Deseret News, Salt Lake City, Utah, 15 September 2000
Davis seniors arrested in hazing
Pair accused of paddling 2 teens at home in Layton
By Maria Titze and Derek Jansen
Two seniors at Davis High School in Kaysville have been removed from school after a hazing incident at a house in Layton Friday night.
The students, ages 17 and 18, are being investigated on third-degree felony aggravated assault charges, according to Davis School District spokesman Chris Williams.
Davis High assistant principal Clyde Jackson said the students heard about a birthday party for a sophomore student and "showed up to the party. They were not invited."
The two seniors went to the party, held at a Layton house for a 16-year-old sophomore, about 10 p.m. Friday, according to a Layton police report.
The seniors selected two sophomore boys, ages 16 and 15, and ordered them to lean over the hood of a car, the report states.
The 16-year-old victim was hit once on the buttocks, breaking the paddle in two and leaving a bruise. One of the seniors then picked up a broken part of the paddle and hit the 16-year-old boy again on his right leg, leaving another bruise, the report states.
The seniors also paddled the 15-year-old victim once, leaving no marks, the report states.
Layton police were alerted to the incident after the 16-year-old boy's mother noticed the bruises on her son. The two seniors were removed from school Tuesday. The district's Student Services Department will review the incident and meet with the students before determining any further disciplinary action.
Jackson said the school is taking the matter seriously, even though the incident took place off school property and outside of school time. "The reason (the victims) were paddled was because they were sophomores at Davis High School," he said.
Davis School District's hazing policy prohibits any hazing activity "regardless of where it occurs."
"I think we'd be derelict in our responsibility if we just let it go," Williams said.
The district's policy also states that "consent is no defense to hazing."
The 16-year-old victim told police he agreed to be paddled because he feared if he refused he would get "beat down," according to the police report. The 15-year-old victim also said he feared further repercussions if he refused to be paddled.
Jackson said this is the first time a hazing incident has come to the attention of Davis High administrators. "This is not a common thing here."
Both seniors, however, told police that paddling is a common ritual among students, and that they were also paddled when they were sophomores, according to the police report.
In May 1999, Viewmont High School in Bountiful suspended 22 students in connection with what school officials there said was a hazing incident aimed at 50 ninth-graders from Centerville Junior High.
While camping in the foothills above Centerville, the younger students were ambushed by the high school students.
The older students charged the tents, threw rocks and eggs, and shot paintball guns at the campers.
A number of the high school students also carried boat paddles, which they allegedly used to spank the younger students as part of an initiation into high school, police reports says.
"I don't believe we're seeing a trend or anything," said Davis School Board President Barbara Smith. She said under district policy, the students could be expelled from school.
In 1997, the Utah Legislature passed a law requiring all local school boards in Utah to adopt rules against hazing.
Half of the high school students who answered a recent national survey reported they had been subjected to various forms of hazing when joining organizations ranging from athletic teams to church groups.
Jackson said the Davis High students weren't "involved in any ball team." Any student in the district who participates in a school-sponsored team or group must sign a form agreeing to refrain from hazing.
The 18-year-old suspect was booked into the Davis County Jail Saturday night and released Sunday, jail records indicate.
The 17-year-old suspect was taken to Farmington Bay, a juvenile detention center.
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