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Old 09-29-14, 03:52 PM
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California High School Suspends 21 Athletes Amid Hazing Probe


High School Suspends 21 Athletes Amid Hazing Probe
by Brian Rokos, Staff Writer

Ayala High in Chino has suspended 21 varsity football players from school because of a hazing incident at a hotel while the team was in St. George, Utah.

Ayala had played Snow Canyon High, winning 23-7, on Sept. 19. Chino Valley Unified School District spokeswoman Julie Gobin said the incident happened the next day.

The district declined to immediately release details of the hazing, which was reported to a school staff member who was on the trip. No one was reported injured, Gobin said.

The suspensions ranged from one to five days.

"The safety of our students is of primary concern. As a district, we have zero tolerance for hazing or bullying of any sort," Gobin said.

Gobin said she didn't believe any adults were present during the incident, which is still under investigation.

The suspensions came in a week in which the team is not playing. Gobin said officials decided they needed to suspend the students immediately instead of waiting for a week in which there was a game to sit out.

Ayala's next game is Oct. 3 at home against Damien.

Ayala principal Diana Yarboi and her staff are conducting the investigation, Gobin said.

Hazing often involves rituals intended to indoctrinate someone into a group or a team. Hazing can involve physical or mental abuse designed to humiliate or denigrate the targeted person, who is expected to go along with the hazing in order to be considered part of the team.

Despite efforts to stop hazing and a national dialogue on the practice, incidents continue, and not just with high school teams or in fraternities and sororities.

F. Clark Power, a professor of psychology at the University of Notre Dame, told Notre Dame News that hazing should not be a standard ritual among athletic teams.

"The excuse that hazing is acting 'in good fun' or to 'build camaraderie' misses the point," Power said. "Hazing is wrong no matter how benign the intention of the abuser. ... While many excuse hazing as a harmless rite of initiation that builds team solidarity, it simply humiliates, degrades or risks emotional and physical harm, regardless of the person's willingness to participate. Hazing is the misuse of power and is abusive."
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