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Illicit CP - June 2004

Corpun file 13607

7WABC-TV on line, New York, 17 June 2004

Students Suspended After Long Island Hazing Ritual

By Lauren DeFranco

(Seaford-WABC, June 17, 2004)—

Students in trouble after another violent hazing incident on Long Island.

School officials wasted little time suspending nine students who are accused of paddling eighth graders about to become high school freshman.

Long Island reporter Lauren DeFranco is in Seaford.

Being a freshman in high school is always tough. But we are told here in Seaford, those who take a paddling have a much easier time of gaining acceptance at the start of the school year. Parents and school officials say it is a dangerous tradition that must be come to an end.

A middle school student, who didn't want to be identified, agreed to show us the nasty bruise on his upper thigh, and explain how he got it.

Student: "It was probably about two-and-a-half foot paddle."
Lauren DeFranco: "Did you scream?"
Student: "No. If you scream and stuff, they will do it worse."

He says it started on Monday afternoon, when four high school students -- armed with large wooden paddles -- pulled up and threatened him to get into their car. He was driven to a nearby Catholic school, and the boy claims, each teen took a turn with a paddle.

Student: "They told me to stand up against the wall, and that's when they did the paddling."

Students tell us that as brutal as it is, it happens every year. Teens leaving the Seaford Middle School are harassed and in some cases beaten before entering the high school. It is considered a rite of passage, hazing ritual.

Barbara Geraghty, Parent: "Why can't they act as mentors to the kids coming into the high school, rather than humiliate the children?"

According to the school's superintendent, the nine juniors are suspended. Parents of the teens who were paddled decided to not press charges.

George Duffy, Schools Superintendent: "I'm appalled by it. The district has zero tolerance for this hazing, or behavior of this type, of any type."

Doreen Denoski, Parent: "I think it's a disgrace, that's what I think. And if anybody touches my son, they'll be very sorry."

This hazing ritual was not a secret among parents. Lisa Taglia took measures to protect her son, years ago.

Lisa Taglia, Parent: "There was kids that couldn't walk because they were hit so bad with paddles."

The students who have been expended [sic] could be expelled, after the outcome of a hearing.

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