Hazing punishment fails to reprimand team appropriately

Harsher consequences should have been administered to varsity boys lacrosse following their incident


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The 2017 and 2019 IHSA boys lacrosse state champions are currently ranked 7th in the state

In a disturbing recent video, reportedly from early March, that has been circulating across the North Shore, a member of the New Trier varsity boys lacrosse team is seen on his hands and knees with a White Claw box over his head. Then, another member of the team proceeds to tap one of his shoulders and then draw his hand across to the other. During this, he proclaims “I knight this man to play New Trier lacrosse.” Several boys then begin dumping various bottles of alcohol on his head, which is followed by a blue plastic bat being driven into his shoulder. He then falls to the ground where he is kicked repeatedly and groans in pain before one of the players calls everyone to stop. 

The administration dolled out a light slap on the wrist for something deserving of more significant retribution.

According to an email sent to parents from the school administration, the team was met with probation this season. Furthermore, they are not allowed to travel to out-of-state competitions for the next two years, can’t hold out-of-school gatherings, and must complete a program that explores the dangers and downfalls of hazing to create a positive team culture. However, this punishment does not properly reflect the severity of the incident. 

The video entails several violations of the school’s Extracurricular Code of Conduct which each student-athlete pledges to obey for the duration of their athletic season. Student-athletes are expected to conduct themselves in an honorable way: respecting their family, peers, and community and acting so as to ensure the wellbeing and safety of others. The code outlines “I have the obligation and responsibility to represent myself, my family, my activity, my school, and my community in an exemplary manner. I understand that if I violate the express or implied terms of the Extracurricular Code, or if I engage in any behavior that negatively affects my activity, fellow students, school, or community.”

Some of the specifics of the code define a violation as purchasing, possessing, or distributing alcohol, hosting or organizing a gathering of minors where alcohol is present, assault, and hazing, to name a few. The video clearly depicts the possession of alcohol in the presence of minors in addition to a clear display of team members hurting another member with a baseball bat as well as kicking him while he was laying on the ground. 

Given the circumstances of their actions, their consequences do not arrive at the effective degree of severity in order to prevent any future instances like this from occurring. Simply placing the team on probation and not allowing them to gather in a more social setting does not clearly illustrate that their actions are unacceptable whether in relation with an educational institution or not. Violence must be stopped in its track or else it could emerge as a pattern for the perpetrators.

I firmly believe the entire team, regardless of the individual punishments handed out to the leaders of the incident, should have been suspended for at least 25% of their season. This would emphasize to the school community, and specifically to future lacrosse teams, that the school has zero tolerance for violence, especially for an organization expected to conduct themselves to a higher standard than the average Trevian. 

The light punishment for the varsity team does nothing to dismantle the hazing culture of New Trier lacrosse. It does nothing to illustrate that their actions are not okay. It does nothing to demonstrate to other organizations within the school community that they cannot inflict violence against their peers and get away with it. The administration dolled out a light slap on the wrist for something deserving of more significant retribution.