February 16th, 2012 | by HANNAH HOFFMAN News | Posted In: Schools, Cops and Courts

Grant High Principal Tells Students "Rites of Passage" Are Over Following Assaults

news2-granthighschool_3815Grant High School
In the wake of controversy over alleged locker-room assaults, the principal of Grant High School has told students that the history of hazing or initiations—what she calls "rites of passage"—must end.

Principal Vivian Orlen sent a letter to students following reports of a double assault in the Grant High locker room following the Jan. 12 junior varsity boys basketball game against Centennial.

Orlen told students that “to require other team members to endure some sort of physical or emotional 'right of passage' is, from this moment on, a thing of the past.”

Some teams and clubs—notably the girls’ varsity soccer team—say they do have a hazing ritual. But it often involves harmless requirements, such as dressing up in funny outfits for a day. One freshman player tells  WW it's “fun and enjoyable.”

Police are investigating reports that two JV basketball players were assaulted by four of their teammates. One was beaten up, according to what sources tell WW. Another says that the players assaulting him held him down while another tried to insert his finger in the victim's anus—a practice known as "G-ing."

Students have told WW that they reacted to news of the alleged assaults in a variety of ways, from disgust to nonchalance. Most say they feel safe at Grant.

Here’s the letter from Orlen:

Grant Students,

 

I always like to share with others I meet how lucky I am to be the Principal at Grant High School.  I am proud of many of the opportunities you choose to engage in as young people and the ways you often advocate for items that are important to you in your education here at school.  I especially like to speak about the ways you are proud to be Grant Generals and that you care about how our school is viewed by the larger community. 

 

As many of you may know there was a recent event involving the JV Boys Basketball team.  This event has raised a variety of concerns for me about student conduct and how adults supervise students in all extracurricular activities.  I would like to share with you my expectations moving forward related to student behavior in both our athletic program, and our club programs.

 

Coaches in our school need to enforce a code of conduct that, first and foremost, entails making sure students are safe and are making productive and healthy choices. Balancing academics and athletics can be extremely challenging and as important as it is for coaches to work with our students to make sure they know how to execute a particular play on the field, they need to make sure their athletes are being successful in academic classes as well.  Every coach knows a winning team works as a unit on the field, and players know their teammates are there to back them up and cheer them on. Similarly, coaches are responsible to make sure our players are there for each other off the field as well.  Coaches are responsible to ensure that team members are supportive of each other and that they team members would never do anything to harm (physically or emotionally) a teammate.  All team members must feel and BE safe.

 

Our school environment needs to be safe for all who enter our building.  Our school community must not let ourselves avoid responsibility by justifying inappropriate behavior by saying “kids will be kids.”  Inappropriate behavior, such as bullying or sexual harassment, observed or heard about by any staff member must be reported.  Our coaches need to message to our student athletes that the norms of the past that allowed some team members to require other team members to endure some sort of physical or emotional “right of passage” is, from this moment on, a thing of the past. Our coaches must be present in lockers rooms whenever team members are there.  Our club advisors must be present when students are working together in either Key Club, Mock Trial, Model United Nations, etc.  Additionally, Grant faculty play a critical role in setting and reinforcing our behavioral norms, at all times. 


Lastly, I hope that you as my students can entrust in me that tough decisions and choices are made with your safety and growth as my main concern.  Without each and every one of you, there would be no Grant High School.


Principal Orlen

 

 

 
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