By Marisela Rechner ’19
Hazing in high schools has been a hot topic recently. In early February, Conestoga High School football players were accused of performing humiliating acts in the locker room as a part of “no-gay Thursdays.” In 2014, Sayreville War Memorial High School in New Jersey also had an incident involving hazing on their football team.
Mr. Jack Signor, Ridley’s Athletic Director, has stated that hazing is not acceptable for the Ridley High School. “Hazing does not breed any type of success in a program. What happened at Conestoga heightened everybody’s sensitivity to hazing, but it didn’t raise awareness for us. I check in with our athletes and coaches on a regular basis to make sure that our teams are functioning as they should be, and that the atmosphere amongst our teams is the way it should be.”
Hazing involves humiliating acts as a way of initiation. It has a history as being part of team building.
Our athletes seemed to be very aware about the importance of anti-hazing. Senior Jason Hannigan from the Boy’s Soccer Team claims hazing should not be tolerated. “Sports are about sportsmanship, teamwork, and looking out for your teammates. You’re a family. What happened at Conestoga is despicable, but it goes to show that this kind of thing can happen anywhere.”
Senior Julian Wing from the Boy’s Basketball Team added: “I don’t know why people take advantage of freshman, it’s weird. You shouldn’t go after someone that doesn’t speak up, because it just messes up their life, and they think it would be okay to just do it to other people.”
Junior Donnie Taziole from the Boy’s Swim Team agreed: “If you’re on a sports team, you shouldn’t be afraid to go to practice.”
Hazing is a form of bullying, and Junior Gab Rudy from the Girl’s Swim Team believes that it is “especially wrong in high school when kids are so young.”
Sayreville War Memorial High School in New Jersey found six football players guilty of hazing towards other players in their locker rooms during the past school year. However, these students have avoided detention and were put on probation.
Some Conestoga parents have supported the coach who was accused of permitting Conestoga’s hazing on their football team. It has been reported that he was unaware this behavior went on. As a result, there are parents who believe his resignation was a step in the wrong direction.
What occurred so closely to Ridley has opened some eyes about the relevance of the issue, and increased awareness in the community. Hazing is in no form tolerable among Ridley High school athletics or sports teams.