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Archive for Wednesday, May 8, 2002

Lawrence High hands out suspensions for hazings

May 8, 2002

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At least 15 Lawrence High School seniors Tuesday were suspended from school and banned from Senior Week activities for involvement in hazing of sophomores.

LHS Principal Dick Patterson said the hazing warranted two-day suspensions and forfeiture of participation in Senior Week activities, including Thursday's student barbecue and Friday's skip day.

"Members of the LHS administrative team have notified their parents and initiated disciplinary action," he said.

The students allegedly were in a group of about 30 seniors who took part in or were observers of a ritual in which sophomores are "kidnapped," taken to a central location and spanked. This year, seniors used wooden boards or paddles to spank more than a half-dozen 10th-graders.

"Some of them were injured," Supt. Randy Weseman said.

The spank line has been an annual tradition for LHS seniors and sophomores. In some cases, sophomores have permitted seniors to tape their wrists and submitted to spanking because they know in two years they'll be in charge of a paddle.

In addition to missing classes Tuesday and today and Senior Week activities Thursday and Friday, the group of at least 15 seniors will be required to take final exams. LHS seniors in good standing have the option of skipping finals.

"They will have to work while others are playing," Weseman said.

The suspended students are prohibited by district policy from participating in high school athletics events. Policy also states they cannot attend contests as observers during a suspension.

However, Patterson determined that the group of seniors would be allowed to participate in the prom dance and graduation ceremonies.

On the west side of Lawrence, Free State High School Principal Joe Snyder said he had not received reports of hazing among students at Free State. There have been reports of student vandalism on and off the Free State campus.

"I encourage anyone who has sustained property damage to report it to the police department," Snyder said.

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