Thursday, September 28, 2000

St. X soccer players disciplined for hazing

By Ben L. Kaufman
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        SPRINGFIELD TWP. — Nine students who hazed a fellow soccer player at St. Xavier High School have learned “squirrelly actions have consequences,” school spokesman Paul Zook said Wednesday.

        The boys have new demerits on their records, will serve detentions after school and have been suspended from the freshman and junior-varsity soccer teams.

        All nine had roles in tying or taping a freshman to a goal, kicking soccer balls at him and pulling down his pants before practice Sept. 15.

        Mr. Zook said the freshman was not injured and continues to play on the freshman team.

        Mr. Zook would not name any of the youths, reveal how many demerits and detentions were involved, or say how many games each boy will miss before being reinstated.

        No one was expelled because the incident was not serious enough under St. X disciplinary procedures, Principal David Mueller said.

        However, Mr. Zook said, “The school is deeply em barrassed,” and that had been made clear to students and coaches.

        Mr. Zook said two youngsters kicked balls at the freshman without hitting him, and it was a sophomore “whom nobody will rat out” who pulled down his pants.

        Coaches came onto the field after a senior cross- country runner intervened, stopped the hazing and released the freshman.

        Responsible coaches were disciplined, said Mr. Zook, who refused to name the coaches or describe the discipline.

        The school imposed discipline after the freshman's mother called to complain, Mr. Zook said.

        Freshmen and junior-varsity teams and their coaches were called to school the next day, and top officials spent four hours sorting out who did what to whom, Mr. Zook said.

        He said Athletics Director Peter Boylan told him the freshman's parents were satisfied.

        Mr. Zook said he did not know why the boy was singled out. Hazing has been part of the soccer teams for three or four years, Mr. Zook said, without knowledge or approval of coaches. Even so, Mr. Zook said, “It's not like a rite of initiation,” and St. X has a ban on hazing.

        Mr. Zook would not speculate on how many demerits the hazing incident brought to each boy, but the maximum is five for a single, serious incident where school safety does not require immediate expulsion.

        A student is liable to expulsion if he accumulates 12 demerits in one semester or 20 in a year, the St. X handbook says.


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