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kramadas

Hazing at high school football game

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I think full criminal charges should be brought against the perpetrators, regardless if they're from upper middle class families. You do something like this, you pay the price. Plus, it'll set an example to all others. If these walk away with just a slap on the wrist then its gonna send a message to kids everywhere that society will condone violence committed by them, just because they're kids.

http://www.cnn.com/2003/US/Midwest/05/08/hs.hazing/index.html

Two hazing victims say violence was surprising

Girls describe choking, kicking at football game ritual

Thursday, May 8, 2003 Posted: 10:55 AM EDT (1455 GMT)

I was strangled and choked, and I was kicked in the head repeatedly.

-- Lauren, Glenbrook North High School junior

NORTHBROOK, Illinois (CNN) -- Two high school girls who had to be treated at the hospital after a hazing by older students said Thursday they had no idea that what was supposed to be a touch football game was going to be a violent attack.

"I was strangled and choked, and I was kicked in the head repeatedly," Lauren, a suburban Chicago high school junior, said.

Another, junior class member, Marina, said she was "repeatedly kicked and punched," adding "they kicked my tailbone to the point that it fractured."

The girls, identified only by first names, spoke to CNN about Sunday's incident at a local park near here which was supposed to be a touch football game between Glenbrook North High School junior and senior girls.

"This has been a tradition in our school, to play football, not [to] be beaten up and put into the hospital," Marina said.

The girls said they had been told they would not be physically harmed but might have to endure light hazing such as ketchup, mustard and whipped cream being smeared in their hair.

Three other girls were treated and released from Glenbrook Hospital, spokeswoman Karen Ganz told CNN Wednesday. Ganz declined to describe their injuries because the patients are minors.

Attorney compares attack to lynching

Police said criminal charges against the perpetrators could be filed Thursday or Friday. Authorities said an amateur videotape shot at the scene indicates premeditation because some of the attackers had baseball bats.

"We believe there was some premeditation on the part of some of the attackers to go after some specific victims," Rollin Soskin, an attorney representing Lauren and Marina, said appearing with them on CNN's "American Morning."

Students huddled together on the ground during the attack.

"Nobody brings a baseball bat or a paint pellet gun to a powder puff football game."

"This was a vicious attack," Soskin said. "This was a lynching."

The tape shows several students huddled together on the ground while others threw objects at them, including large plastic buckets.

One girl walks behind the seated girls and slaps them on the back of the head. Another girl holds up what appears to be an intestine. At least one girl reported having a pig's intestine wrapped around her neck.

Witnesses also reported that urine, feces and fish guts were thrown and others said they had been forced to eat mud.

"Basically it started out as a fun hazing like our initiation into our senior year," said a junior girl who had been injured. "About 10 minutes into it everything changed -- buckets were flying ... people were bleeding. Girls were unconscious."

Dozens of students had come to watch the event and some of them, including male bystanders, joined in.

Principal supports prosecution

The school's principal, Michael Riggle, said Wednesday the school supports criminal prosecution of the perpetrators.

"I feel that the behavior that went on was certainly extreme and I think that it does get into the point of criminal actions," Riggle told CNN. "The school is fully supportive of prosecution at this point."

But, Riggle said, the school's jurisdiction in the matter is "very limited" and it is up to the sheriff's department to press charges.

In 1979, there were problems with powder puff or touch football games and the school discontinued the games, which had been used as fund-raisers, Riggle said. Since then, the matches have been organized by the students.

"Quite honestly, we were shocked as everyone else was when we looked at this videotape," Riggle said.

But, Soskin did not absolve the school of responsibility, saying that although it was not a school-sanctioned event or on school property, school administrators certainly knew the game was going to take place.

The Cook County sheriff's department and the county's Forest Preserve District police are investigating the incident, which happened on Forest Preserve property near Northbrook.

Glenbrook North High School is in Northbrook, a suburb north of Chicago. Riggle agreed with a reporter's depiction of the school's students as being mainly "upper middle class," adding that some 85 percent go on to four-year colleges.

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