Ca. school officials warn parents of hazing ritual
MALIBU, Cali. (WHDH) -- As the school year winds down, parents at one high school in California are being warned about the dangers of a possible student initiation ritual.
School officials say they have no hard evidence, but if you talk to students, it's a different story.
Classes are almost out at Malibu High School, but the email sent to parents recently wasn't about any "end of school celebrations" -- it was a warning of possible hazing.
"I don't really know for sure; I hear like girls get covered in cat food or some degrading thing, that's about it," Hayden Clark, a student, said.
Clark says it's eleventh graders, soon to be seniors, targeting incoming freshmen.
Initiation for boys often involves violence, usually in the form of being paddled and physical fighting. The email warned girls are humiliated or harassed.
School officials insist the note is precautionary after teachers heard chatter among students
"We hear that word initiation and it raises concern,” Malibu High School principal Dr. Mark Kelly said. “Just in the word itself it raises concern."
Students say it does happen.
"Well I went through it in eighth grade,” one girl said. “We got the Facebook message about it and I do know people who did go.”
Harassment at the high school level has already taken its toll in Westchester County, New York, where three teens were charged as adults for assault, hazing and unlawful imprisonment of a group of incoming students.
Unlike the initiation in New York, students in Malibu say the initiation is voluntary.
According to the principal’s letter, initiations sometimes take place at the beach, as girls in bathing suits were covered in food -- or even cat food -- and rolled in the sand.