A Pennsylvania district has cancelled its high school's football season following horrific footage of the team hazing each other.
Hazing has unfortunately become a way of life for many college students, and even teens at the high school level. The practice typically expects certain members of a group to undergo an activity that humiliates, degrades, abuses, and often puts them at risk of physical harm. It has been prevalent throughout much of history and is a major concern to parents today. Recently, a Pennsylvania school district had to cancel its high school’s football season, due to horrific footage obtained that depicted teammates hazing others.
According to reports from The Associated Press, The Middletown Area School District will have no high school football games this year. The decision to cancel the popular school spirit-raising pastime was made following an investigation, which involved the police into cell phone footage that depicted members of the football team hazing others on the team. The coach of the football team has resigned, and messages from district officials insinuate that he may have known about what happened during these “right of passage” rituals.
What allegedly happened to some of the teammates in the video was described as horrific. In the first footage, team members were seen in the high school’s turf room which is used for training and heat acclimation. Two individuals were restrained by the others as the hazing began. A muscle therapy gun was one of the tools the football players used to poke at the others’ buttock area.
When announcing the cancellation of the upcoming football season, Superintendent Chelton Hunter called the hazing incident “completely unacceptable, offensive and highly inappropriate.” He also noted that he expected the cancellation to be met with varying opinions, as it would mean other’s not involved may be affected as well. But after obtaining more footage of the incident, Hunter noted that the hazing involved more students than the district originally thought were involved, and possibly educators as well. The widespread lack of integrity could not go unpunished.
Much of the opening fall season for high schools revolves around football. However, the district asserted that they would work around the hazing situation to make sure other groups that centered activities around the football season such as the marching band and cheerleaders would be given different opportunities. They even announced formulating a plan for homecoming, which usually centers around a football game.
While hazing is prevalent in American society today, the history of this degrading ritual began in ancient Greece. Origins date back to 387 B.C. when Plato’s Academy was opened. Continuing on, it remained a popular group activity through the 20th century. At the turn of the century, the London Post would often write about how big of a problem it was after hazing-related deaths rose in 1912.
Over the years, experts believe that hazing has become more violent. Fatalities from alcohol and drug-related hazing events are reported on college campuses every year. According to one report from ABC News, roughly two million teenagers are hazed every year. Much of this involves teenagers on high school sports teams. Nearly a quarter live through the horrific event. What’s more, they tend to never report it for one reason or another. It is unclear how the school obtained footage from this recent hazing event, but what is known is that school officials had to act swiftly and strictly, to set a standard that this type of behavior would not be tolerated.