Remember when that used to be us?
Written by Shawn Ruest on 29/08/12
It’s taken awhile to climb the ladder, but we’re finally making our way to the top…of high school that is! But wait a second, who are these new kids walking in the halls of OUR school? I guess it’s our job to offer them a warm welcome…and by warm welcome, I mean a little initiating; after all, we all had to go through it, so why shouldn’t they?
Hazing has been around for a really long time, despite tons of organizations educating people about initiations and sharing ideas on how to prevent them (DEAL.org). For instance, at the beginning of the 2011 school year, a high school senior from Ottawa, Ontario hazed a freshman. Even though it happened after class and off of school property, the senior was still expelled (CBC News). This really shows us that schools are actively addressing hazing and initiations, even if they are more likely to happen when school’s out (Statistics Canada). So we know that schools are on board to help prevent it from happening altogether; is there anything we can do to help them out with this goal?
We can prevent hazing from happening on and off school grounds if we plan school spirit events when classes wrap up for the day. There are lots of team building activities that we can organize to make every student feel at home. We can even ask teachers for help if we need ideas, supplies, a venue and/or alternative ways for students to get home safely.
A peer mentoring program can also help younger students get settled in. New students in my high school were paired up with a high school senior, and the duos would meet up throughout the year to catch up and make sure everything was going smoothly. If a mentorship program is created in all of our schools, hazing will have a hard time finding a home in our community.
These programs will take some time and hard work to run smoothly. In the meantime, if you hear anything about hazing or initiations taking place, or are affected by one yourself, talk about it with a trusted adult. People may try to sway you from reporting it by saying, “Everyone goes through it” but remember, even if we know people have been hazed in the past, it doesn’t mean we have to keep the ‘tradition’ alive. Whether it’s your first day of high school, or the beginning of your senior year, let’s work together to make it a good year for everyone!