Youth sports hazing: not just for high schoolers, anymore
If this is any indication of the atmosphere surrounding early-teen school sports, maybe it’s just as well my seventh-grade son got cut.
First, from Indianola, Iowa (as told by the Des Moines Register):
Two members of the Indianola Middle School track team were charged with assault last week in connection with an alleged hazing incident.
Carter Jacobsen, 14, and Trey Kuehl, 15, both of Indianola, were accused of tackling a 14-year-old teammate and holding him down before a track practice. … [EDITOR'S NOTE: Please please please, God, tell me the parents of the latter boy didn't give him his name as an homage to Green Day drummer Tre Cool.]
Indianola Middle School Principal Mike O’Meara told police that Kuehl and Jacobsen held the victim down and rubbed their testicles on his face.
“There were some sexual connotations in the report but we couldn’t establish that, so we just charged them with simple assault,” Police Chief Steve Bonnett said.
The victim’s mother declined to comment when reached [April 20].
Kuehl and Jacobsen told school authorities that they held the victim down, but denied rubbing their testicles on his face, according to Marsh’s police report.
And from Biscoe, N.C., as told by Fox8 in Greensboro:
At least 10 eighth-graders at East Middle School have been suspended for involvement in alleged sexual bullying and/or hazing over the past week, according to Montgomery County Sheriff Jeff Jordan.
The suspended students are suspected of bullying sixth- and seventh-graders on the soccer and baseball teams, primarily in the boys locker room. A parent told FOX8 News on Tuesday that her son witnessed the eighth-graders pinning younger students against a wall and grinding their groin into the victim’s bottom.
Jordan said the [nine] victims were targeted because they were new to the athletic teams.
Parents and schools needs to teach a simple lesson that would eliminate so many of these incidents. That lesson: keep your hands to yourself.
In Indianola, Jacobsen’s father told the Register his son was just wrestling and horsing around, which a lot of boys were doing. Apparently his son and the other boy didn’t see fit to share that with police, who reported the boys made no statements in meeting attended by their parents. Regardless, if Jacobsen’s father wants to proclaim his son’s innocence, hey, that’s his right. But he should tell his son, when the door is shut, to stop playing grab-ass before track practice. I give the school credit, though: it seemed to deal with this appropriately and swiftly.
I can’t say so much for the schools in Biscoe, N.C., given the Fox8 reports. The school has only made statements that it’s looking into the matter, and it has made clear that the topic of sports bullying and hazing (which the sheriff says also might be happening at the nearby high school) is off-limits at an upcoming Parent-Teachers Organization meeting, April 22. Parents, if they bring up hazing, will be encouraged to speak to the principal privately.
Good luck with that, East Middle School! I understand there are privacy laws, but it might behoove the administrators there to talk about how it was possible for the behavior alleged by police to take place not over a few days — but apparently a few years.