Hazing Leads To Discipline At White Station High School
(Memphis) A hazing incident has resulted in disciplinary action against students and staff as well as the forfeiture of a football game.
We’ve learned Memphis City Schools administrators received several complaints that White Station High School freshman football team members were hazed during a football camp.
The White Station High School principal called 911 on Sunday, Aug. 5, at about 1:30pm, after a concerned parent told school officials of the alleged hazing at the Fellowship of Christian Athletes camp.
The camp was open to football teams across the city.
Memphis police responded, but upon arrival at White Station High School, it was determined a report would not be filed. Police said the complainant decided not to pursue criminal charges but instead to handle the issue through the school.”
Memphis City Schools said that five players were involved, and that a “significant number” of upperclassmen witnessed or participated in the hazing on some level.
A school attorney said that the actions could have led to serious injuries, although no injuries were reported.
Students heard the announcement over the intercom Thursday afternoon, first calling all football players to an emergency meeting, then telling all students about the hazing and forfeiture of Friday’s football game.
The five players who were directly involved have been disciplined, as have the team’s coaches.
The White Station High School football coach told News Channel 3’s Mike Ceide that he could not comment on the details, but that he is trying to focus his team on their game against Arlington High School next week.
But the disappointment of forfeiting their game against their rival, Ridgeway High School, had students upset. Some believe the hazing announcement triggered the multiple fights that broke out after school.
“I pulled in the parking lot, tried to get in the middle of it, tried to break it up a little bit, the gym coach was there telling everybody to get in the car and leave,” said Ward Jones, a parent.
Senior Shira Grant said, “I just saw the two kids who started the fight, and they were being carried off and they were both crying and rubbing their eyes.”
Grant and others suspect mace or pepper spray was involved.
As for the hazing, students are shocked.
“I thought we got past that, as a school,” said Trey Escobar, who said no hazing incidents have come up in several years.
Grant, who had class with a couple of football players just as the announcements came over the intercom, said the players did not look happy.
“Their heads were down… and when I was talking to one of them, I saw the other one looking.” She said he motioned by shaking his head and putting a finger to his lips, suggesting they should not talk about the incident.
Jari Head, also a senior, said, “We’re not a violent school. We don’t do this all the time. This is just something the football players came up with and that they did, probably on a whim.”
Jones, whose son is a senior at the school, said hazing has become part of student life in many ways. He encourages his son to do all he can to avoid those situations and believes this discipline was necessary.
Below is a letter sent to MCS School Board Commissioners:
I write to update you on the investigation of alleged hazing among football players at White Station High School.
In my communiqué yesterday, I informed you that MPD was contacted immediately by members of my staff, per protocol and state law.
After reviewing the evidence collected by members of my team, I have authorized the following actions:
- Appropriate disciplinary action has been taken against all coaching staff and other responsible personnel.
- Letters will be sent home to all White Station students and families to notify them of this issue.
- Friday night’s (August 17) football game with Ridgeway High School will be forfeited by White Station High School.
As I stated yesterday, students involved in this incident have been properly disciplined per Board policy. Counseling services will be provided to all students who witnessed or experienced the hazing.
Let me be perfectly clear about this situation: bullying of any kind, including hazing by student athletes, will not be tolerated in the Memphis City Schools.
Student athletes are expected to be leaders among their peers.
Although I do not expect any additional evidence to be uncovered, please note that this investigation is ongoing.
Any retaliation against students who have brought forth the claims of hazing will be met with swift action.