Teacher’s disturbing discovery in West Seattle park: Hazing

Jennifer Hall knows a lot about teenagers. She teaches them. And she parents one. On Friday night, she happened onto a group of teens in West Seattle’s Solstice Park, engaged in behavior troubling enough to cause her eventually to call 911. Here’s her story:

I was walking my dogs up from the pea patches into Solstice Park at 6 PM. There were around 15-20 young people there, laughing raucously, squealing. Young men were yelling at the young girls to “Come hither, ladies!” After being at the park for about a minute, I realized that they were high school students.

There were beer cans, white powder, and plastic containers littering the grass. One of my dogs was especially interested in a large fleshy thing that they were batting around on the grass. I walked into the group to look at it. It was a large animal heart — a pig’s or a cow’s. The young people were not hostile to me, but I could smell alcohol, and I could tell by the way that some of the boys were slurring their speech that they were drunk. I told them I was a high-school teacher myself, and I asked what high school they were from. One of the boys said, “Roosevelt.” I said, “You’ve got beer cans all over the place, and you’ve obviously been drinking. You’ve driven here from Roosevelt, and you’re planning on driving back impaired? How old are you?” “Eighteen!”, one very young-looking girl replied. I said, “Well, that’s a lie. You drove here from Roosevelt, a bunch of you are drunk and you’re planning on driving back?” There was a chorus of, “We’re OK!” and other protests.

I asked the girls, who appeared younger than the boys, “Do your parents know where you are, and who you’re with?” Again, there was a chorus of, “We’re OK! We’re just having fun!”

A boy said, “Listen, ma’am! We’re cleaning up and we’re getting out of here!” A couple of the young men began racing around, and picking up beer cans. I told them that they were obviously drunk; that they had brought younger students out to West Seattle; that they were doing the wrong thing; that I was calling the police. A large group ran at that point, leaving some shoes, socks, and a backpack. I took a photo of the last of them running [above], and one of a couple girls.

With most of the group gone, one young girl walked up to me and said, “Excuse me. I didn’t have anything to drink, and I’ve called my mother to come pick me up at Lincoln Park.” She told me that she was fourteen years old, and that this was “froshing [freshmen hazing]” involving numerous students from Garfield. She said, “We didn’t know that they would bring us all the way out here.” I asked, “Do you know the boys you’re with?” She said, “Yeah. For a little while. Since school started.” I dialed 911 as she dialed her friend. I heard her tell her friend to come back up and wait with her, that she had called her mother, and that her mother would drive them both home.

I informed the 911 operator about what was going on, noting that the students had run away, leaving a fair amount of stuff behind — that they would probably be back. I told him that I had talked with a young girl who was waiting for her mom. Her friend came back to wait with her. The operator said, “Well, ma’am, it’s Friday night. There’s a lot of stuff going on in West Seattle. Do you think that this is something that needs an officer?” I said that I was concerned that young men were driving impaired with underage girls in the cars with them. “Are they there now?” asked the operator. I basically gave the 911 operator a play by play as two young men came back to gather up the backpacks, shoes and socks. They had put on jackets with the hoods up and drawn tightly over their faces. They said to the two girls, “Come on, let’s go! Come on, let’s go!” repeatedly. The girl who had approached me told them more than once, “NO! I’ve called my mother, and she’s coming to get us.” I told the 911 operator that I would take the girls to meet the mother. The boys took off running. My 911 call disconnected at one point, and the officer called me back to ask if I wanted the police there. I reiterated my concern about the young men driving. He asked me if I could describe the cars. I could not, because I was standing on top of the hill in Solstice Park. They’d run down the hill into the neighborhood where their cars were parked. I said, “You might want to be on the lookout for drunk high-school kids driving down Fauntleroy in the next few minutes.”

The girl who had approached me called her mother again, and asked me to talk to her. Her mother was not that familiar with West Seattle. I directed her to meet us at a spot nearby on Fauntleroy, and I led the girls down. On the way to meet her mother, the girl reported some alarming things to me. She and her friend had agreed to go to someone’s house near Garfield to be “froshed,” but “I thought we were just going to be squirted with ketchup or something.” When they arrived at the house, male upperclassmen were beating freshmen boys with some kind of “switches” — she wasn’t sure what they were made of. The boys doing the hazing were already drinking — probably more than beer, she thought. They covered the girls with various gross, slimy stuff. They were cold and wet. Another girl lent them sweatshirts to cover up. They were made them touch the animal heart, among other things. They got into a girl’s car, they said — other frosh girls rode with the boys. They drove them to Solstice Park, continued drinking and “froshing,” until my dogs and I walked over.

The two fourteen-year-old girls I was with were obviously glad to be taken out of the situation they had found themselves in. They spoke of it as “creepy.” When the girl’s mother arrived, she thanked me. I told her that I thought her daughter and her daughter’s friend had made the right decision — to get away from the group. Mom and daughter knocked knuckles. “They’re smart girls,” the mother said. “They know how to do the right thing.” Mom was obviously concerned. I could see that she was worried, but she did an excellent job of validating the girls’ decision. I told them that I would contact Garfield and say that they need to talk to parents, and to the whole student body about this. The students involved in doing this need to be held accountable.

This “froshing” — this HAZING –might be thought of by some as a rite of passage for high-school students. Hopefully, though, most parents can see it for what it is. Fun for some or not, it’s BULLYING. And it’s bullying involving alcohol, driving, possible drug use, physical and psychological harassment, and possible sexual harassment. The girls I saw were freshmen. They had baby faces. They were not more than fifteen years old. There are huge developmental differences between seniors and freshmen in high school. As a teacher, and as a parent, I have great concerns about freshmen girls riding in cars with upperclassmen boys — especially when there is alcohol involved. I was somewhat taken aback that the 911 operator didn’t seem particularly concerned about the intoxicated underage kids I was calling about. But what did I expect? That parks would be protected? That our kids have nothing to fear?

This incident, for me, underscored the need for us to know who our children are with, where they are going, and what parents are supervising, even if our kids are fourteen, fifteen, sixteen, seventeen years old, and actively pushing us away as fast as they can. It is our charge to push back. Loving and protecting our children means teaching them how to police themselves, and teaching them about hazing. I am going to keep speaking out about this. By the way, hazing is against the law in Washington. Individuals and institutions can be held libel for damages (RCW.28b.10.901 & RCW.28b.10.902). Unfortunately, these laws only apply to post-secondary education!

As I was writing this, my husband read some of the definitions of hazing on stophazing.org. What this organization says about high-school hazing is particularly telling. I would encourage all parents, students, and high-school staff persons to read it.

We also found hazing listed as a Seattle Public Schools “district offense,” defined as “initiating students into a school, group, grade level, or office through persecuting, harassing, or coercive behaviors that cause or are likely to cause social or emotional harm.” This is from the “Basic Rules of Seattle Public Schools” policies, meant to cover behavior at school and school-sponsored events, but certainly notable in this context just the same. Meantime, some of this apparently was witnessed by at least one other person, who left a seemed-odd-at-the-time post on the WSB Facebook wall.

169 Replies to "Teacher's disturbing discovery in West Seattle park: Hazing"

  • Sonoma October 1, 2011 (3:05 am)

    Thanks for the report. I do wish the police would have responded faster. I can just imagine some of the parents of the older kids calling it “just a bit of harmless fun. Kids will be kids.” I call b.s., where the “b” stands for “bullying.” Imagine, if when you started a new job, your more-senior coworkers got drunk and put you through a humiliating hazing. Unthinkable for adults, so why is it sanctioned for teens?

  • pa October 1, 2011 (6:10 am)

    Were they all in what appeared to be diapers? We saw a group of high school age young men leaving the tennis court area on Fauntleroy around 5:45 last night. We thought hazing too.

  • maude October 1, 2011 (6:58 am)

    Wow. I’m more disturbed by the lack of interest by the police department than I am at the behavior of idiotic teens.

  • Aman October 1, 2011 (7:38 am)

    Major Buzz-Kill. Bet you scared ’em!

  • Pat October 1, 2011 (7:47 am)

    I went up there one night, maybe a month ago, to do some star-watching, and as I got close, I heard a loud, rowdy, and apparently large group of kids partying up there. So I changed my mind about star-watching! It might be worth the police’s time to check out that site on Friday and Saturday nights to see how regular a thing this is.

  • Scott October 1, 2011 (8:16 am)

    The Seattle Police should be held liable for not addressing this issue when it was called in. I am very disappointed that they did not take this concern of a community member, a teacher, and a parent seriously. Children that young and intoxicated driving around are an accident waiting to happen.

  • Lorelee October 1, 2011 (8:20 am)

    Way to go Jennifer! We should all learn from you actions- Impressive.

  • Laura October 1, 2011 (8:33 am)

    Jennifer Hall should be comended for her help to these kids. Thankful she cared enough to get involved!

  • cjboffoli October 1, 2011 (8:59 am)

    I’m not sure I’d agree with the suggestion that the police didn’t take this seriously or lacked interest. It sounds as though the 911 operator was very clear about the fact that it was a busy night and there were a lot of calls on the system. My guess is that the operator was just trying to determine if the situation warranted an emergency response, in light of the fact that all available officers were currently engaged.
    We have to remember that the current size of our police force is about the same as it was in the 1960’s (despite the huge advances in the population our city has seen since that time). I’d love to think a police officer is always a couple of minutes away if I’m in trouble. That might be the case most of the time. But at certain crunch times, they might all be dealing with a lot of calls, and unable to drop everything and come in anything except a severe case (guns, violence, blood).
    Ms. Hall’s response to this situation was admirable. And she did the right thing in alerting the police. That’s my takeaway from this story. Not that the police are negligent in not immediately responding to everything.

  • sam-c October 1, 2011 (9:01 am)

    the lack of response from SPD is frustrating, considering the damage that can be caused by drunk driving.

  • Bryan C. October 1, 2011 (9:05 am)

    I am appauled(but not surprised) at the inaction of SPD on this issue. I think we need to push them for a reasonable explanation as to their lack of response to something so egregious. It is this type of indifference on the part of SPD that undermines the publics trust in our public safety officials. Shame on you SPD, shame on the specific officer involved and double shame on the parents of the kids that perpetrated this act.

  • eigenwijs October 1, 2011 (9:09 am)

    Not sure if this is related or not but I was coming off the Vashon ferry last night and waiting to turn left on Fauntleroy around 5 pm when a group of about 12 teenaged girls came jogging by. They were soaking wet – not just sweaty wet – and dressed more scantily than I would have expected from a high school track team out practicing. The last girl looked like she had soap in her hair and on her bottom. They started hooting and hollering as the crossed the ferry terminal crosswalks – they had a captive audience! There were no boys in the group. Maybe unrelated to the hazing group – it just struck me as “different”.

  • eigenwijs October 1, 2011 (9:15 am)

    And major props to the girl who believed in herself enough to get her and her friend out of a bad situation safely and also to her mom for having created an environment where her daughter knew she could call her.

  • bsmomma October 1, 2011 (9:21 am)

    What happened to the “good ‘ol days” of just putting the freshmen in garbage cans? TPing there houses? What these kids were doing seems to be a bit twisted. Scary to think that that generation thinks this way.

  • Janae\' L October 1, 2011 (9:30 am)

    I also tried to get through the dispatcher this summer when a fight was breaking out between teens on 61st between ALki and Admiral. The dispatcher was frustrating me with the questions regarding my assessment of the sitatuion. I would not have called if I didn’t think someone was in danger!

    One young woman was getting her head pounded against a car by two other girls, another group of boys was watching and others were gathering. **** There were police parked everywhere on ALki just a block away. *** The “activity” was obviously taken off Alki for that very reason. The “boys” saw me calling, threw a couple of snide vague threats my way as they dispersed. The girl (who had a head bleed) was quickly put in a car by her friends who didn’t intervene, and whisked away. By the time an officer was dispatched – close to 10 minutes later – there was nothing to see. I stopped him on his way down the street in his patrol car to tell him what had occured but being more concerned with the girl being beat up, I didn’t have the details that would help him. He had received the call three minutes earlier and had come right over.

    I don’t think the problem is the officers as they have been available all summer long to those of us who spot concerns on Alki. They know what we’re dealing with in the neighborhoods and want to help. The problem is the Dispatcher questioning the calls. As a taxpaying citizen, I would rather see the Officers go on 10 bogus calls than miss the one that really matters because Dispatch doesn’t deem it important.

    I put myself at risk that day as I was walking down the street with one friend. The “kids” saw me calling and I still did it. I didn’t know them or what their intent was. I work as HS Administrator and work with these same aged kids every day. If we fear them as a adults we give power to the few who really are doing things to hurt the youth as a whole. Apathy amongst adults and Dispatchers who don’t trust those who are calling is part of the problem.

    If someone calls Dispatch with a concern, they should send someone. Period.

    Thanks for giving me a place to express my concern. It has been wearing on me most of the summer.

  • JC October 1, 2011 (9:36 am)

    This letter is long enough that I might have missed the part where bullying occurs. Drinking and driving is a serious crime and good reason for police involvemeny, but what type of bullying was taking place?

  • J October 1, 2011 (9:36 am)

    The thing to remember about an SPD response to solstice park is two fold. 1. They would have to get out of their car and walk more than 50 meters. 2. That walking would involve going up a hill away from their car.
    Hard to imagine them overcoming either of these obstacles that drunk teenagers seemed to have tackled with ease.

  • wsbliss October 1, 2011 (9:40 am)

    Thank you, Jennifer! So proud you are working with children in our community. I hope their parents see this and care enough to intervene.

  • Bakergal October 1, 2011 (9:44 am)

    Please, please, as a mother of a Garfield Freshman, call Garfield and tell them about this. I will be curious if my daughter finds out any details. It’s a big school. Thanks for being so pro-active. Many people would have said something and just walked away. Community involved citizens are what makes our living space safe.

  • RobE October 1, 2011 (9:46 am)

    911 prioritizes calls as they receive them and then dispatches officers to the more serious offenses. I would believe the 911 operator was trying to determine the seriousness of the incident. With a lack of a description of the vehicles the students were driving and the direction they were traveling does not give the officers much to go on. An officer could have responded to check the area but by the time they would have responded and with the lack of information regarding the students would make it difficult to find them. We wouldn’t want the officers to be stopping every car full of students on a Friday night!

  • JanS October 1, 2011 (9:47 am)

    cjb..and if one of those drunk teenagers had caused a serious accident on the WS Bridge? Would you feel the same way? Drunk driving is always a serious thing, whether it’s an adult, and especially if it’s a teenager whose driving is erratic on a good day at times.

    • WSB October 1, 2011 (10:22 am)

      Having heard the “911 response (or not)” discussion in many venues – including here, at Crime Prevention Council meetings, etc. – one thing to note: Jennifer wrote that she was asked specifically if she wanted an officer there. As I noted in a followup exchange with her, she may not have unequivocally said “yes,” even though it’s clear from her message and what she discusses that it was urgent enough that you would think that would be obvious. SPD local reps say that you need to insist, if there seems to be any doubt, YES, WE NEED AN OFFICER HERE NOW. Otherwise, they say, many of us kind of meander around the point and say “oh, well, if it isn’t too much trouble, but if they are busy elsewhere …” Again, NOT to say that’s the way it should be, but I have heard it explained more than once, that’s the way it is. So if you are not calling 911 and reporting an immediate life-threatening emergency like someone getting shot/stabbed/etc. – be VERY insistent: “I need an officer here NOW.” You may still wind up in a priority queue BUT they apparently cannot argue with that. If I can find the specific article in which that was cited, I’ll add the link here later … TR

  • NFiorentini October 1, 2011 (9:58 am)

    If people think that the SPD response in this instance was subpar, just wait until McGinn’s cuts in police funding and personnel take effect. I haven’t had much of an opinion one way or another regarding this mayor, but I would sign a recall petition right now. I would support raising taxes in order to hire more officers or just about any other cuts to the city’s non-transportation related budget; however, fewer police officers is the wrong answer.

  • mt October 1, 2011 (10:00 am)

    I went to Garfield and they NEVER had this kind of ‘froshing’ how ridiculous. I remember hearing about it for Roosevelt’s cheerleaders though. In regard to SPD I don’t think they do a very good job – especially the dispatchers – in responding to these things in a VERBAL sense they never explain themselves. A little PR is needed as seen from these negative comments. I agree with cjboffoli totally on the staffing levels. They are low and the crime has increased regardless of what is written in the paper (per the mayor). The stats and call times are ‘met’ because the police are not being proactive due to public pressure to not be. They are answering calls but on a friday/sat eve this is a low priority call compared to a shooting, accident or domestic violence. As well they can’t go combing all of west seattle for a car with no description. When people call 911 they need to have a clear description of the suspects and cars. They can’t stop every suspicious car its not a good use of their time. I am sure if an officer was available he would have been there. And please remember the mayor is not adding 40 police jobs lost to the budget and that crime with the economy and times getting harder will increase and that this type of ‘frustration’ over response is going to get worse. What they are singing in the stats is just PR and its not the ultimate truth. That said I think this citizen did a good job and I am sorry her efforts weren’t responded to. There just has to be more to the police’s story but they never get a chance to say ‘there was this, this and this going on.’ If they did I think a lot of this negative chatter would stop.

  • cherylc October 1, 2011 (10:05 am)

    I saw kids wearing diapers. I didn’t call 911; I wish I had. I saw a quick glimpse and I didn’t realize they were girls. They were wet and smeared with pink stuff, I think. It just goes to show that if I can tell the people involved in something weird are kids, I should stop and see what is going on and maybe call 911.

  • zee October 1, 2011 (10:08 am)

    “If someone calls Dispatch with a concern, they should send someone. Period.”

    That’s the point – they don’t have someone! Wake up SEATTLE the police levels are what they were in the 70s and the population has increased as has crime. Do the math. You need to 1) push for more officers or 2) get used to this type of prioritizing! It’s called ‘belt-tightening’ like we are all doing but with police. And we have a mayor who has disdain for SPD so add that to your equations too.

  • Jacob October 1, 2011 (10:12 am)

    Why does everyone assume they were driving drunk? When I was young and stupid we still had DDs

  • Question October 1, 2011 (10:17 am)

    Newsflash to the teacher that wrote this,

    You might want to have a little more fact before you say ” possible drug use and sexual harassment.” you just made an accusation about someone and their picture is posted. If you are wrong you could be sued for libel.

    It is actually astounding that the wsb blog would post a photo of minors in this situation even though you can’t see their faces very well.

    I don’t condone any of this behavior. But I think the reaction of the 911 operator says it all. I would guess they get a bunch of calls every weekend relating to underage drinking. You’re not going to stop it. It has been going on for many many years. I just hope the kids don’t hurt themselves or someone else in process of learning for themselves how stupid some of the things you do as a teenager are.

  • jim October 1, 2011 (10:19 am)

    “We have to remember that the current size of our police force is about the same as it was in the 1960′s (despite the huge advances in the population our city has seen since that time).”

    What? Seattle has added 50,000 residents since 1960 or about 1,000 residents per year which is less than .2% growth per year. That may be considered “huge” growth in the rust belt but not anywhere else on the planet.

    Since that time police sub-stations have been added, the entire 911 system was implemented and dispatching is well, 50 years ahead of what it was in 1960.

    Do we really want to live in a society where we need police to respond to every high-school shenanigan? Or is it better if the community or parents take care of their kids? I applaud the teacher and the mother in this incident but am disappointed that so many people want wall-to-wall cops to do day-to-day parenting.

  • Angela October 1, 2011 (10:22 am)

    I find this to be very disturbing. It is insanity to me that the police did not come and check up on this situation and idiotic that the dispatcher would ask if this woman wanted an officer to come out. Why did they think she was calling. Maybe I am being overemotional about this but it brings tears to my eyes that these kids would think this is ok to do to anyone. Bullying is bullying and never ok in any way shape or form. I do not believe this is a kids being kids situation and believe above and beyond the drinking and drugging that may have been going on the lasting effects on the kids that are being hazed could cause an abundance of internal damage to self esteem. This is not ok and I really hope the schools do something about this right away. This could lead to something much more serious if something isn’t done ASAP. I understand the seriousness of the drinking and driving but I fear if they are willing to go this far to haze what happens when they loose control and the hazing turns into assault or worse?

  • jissy October 1, 2011 (10:32 am)

    I witnessed what I think was part of this, too. Walking last night in Lincoln Park along the lower path from Lowman, a group of 10-12 boys, in boxer shorts, soaking wet, 1 of my neighbors said something about swimming to which one of the boys replied “We had to wash off the syrup and hot sauce!”

    As we walked out of the park and back to Lowman, they were all frantically getting into cars, dressed in purple (my 3 year old wanted to know why 1 boy was wearing 2 different colored shoes) & freaking out that 1 of their entourage had left their car up on Fauntleroy (now I know why they didn’t want to go back up to get it!). I didn’t get alarmed until I saw 1 kid running around with a beer bong hose and then looked closely trying to figure out their age… I was trying to convince myself they were in college but nope, a whole lotta baby faces. Only saw 1 girl with them. Something in me was saying call the police but I didn’t, played out the conversation in my head and didn’t think saying I saw a kid with a beer bong would be convincing enough. They all seemed VERY young.

  • Jacob October 1, 2011 (10:37 am)

    Something about the “White Powder” description makes me think this teacher is 100% overreacting.

  • jim October 1, 2011 (10:38 am)

    “Bullying is bullying and beyond the drinking and drugging that may have been going on the lasting effects on the kids that are being hazed could cause an abundance of internal damage to self esteem.”

    And leaping to conclusions to make broad generalizations based on minimal evidence is still a bad way to gain insight or comment on our fellow citizens.

  • newnative October 1, 2011 (10:54 am)

    I agree that it sounds like dispatchers playing. Jennifer should have been direct and to the point. I had a situation here on California Ave with a screaming suicidal man beating his head on the traffic light and sidewalk. The dispatcher still questioned the need for aide. I had to call twice and the man almost was hit by a car. I waited 15 minutes before the cops showed up.

  • Karyn October 1, 2011 (10:56 am)

    Well, I wish I had know about the drinking when I first saw this. My home is on Fauntleroy looking towards Solstice Park, so close enough to nearly naked people, but not any other details than that. Maybe if the dispatcher had received enough calls there would have been a police response. The kids were up there for a solid hour before Jennifer showed up, and I’m glad she did. Thanks for the report

  • CK October 1, 2011 (11:05 am)

    JC- “When they arrived at the house, male upperclassmen were beating freshmen boys with some kind of “switches” — she wasn’t sure what they were made of.” That might be considered bullying.

  • TC55 October 1, 2011 (11:17 am)

    Great job Jennifer of taking a caring approach to the situation you encountered. If you had started off by yelling or too authoritative you may not have presented yourself as a “safe” person that those girls needed. I appreciate that you asked the right questions and your primary concern was for the safety of those involved. I am also glad to hear that the girls that made the good decision was also backed up by a supporting mom. I hope these particular schools address these specific incidents.

  • Norma October 1, 2011 (11:38 am)

    It’s natural to try to find someone to blame when we see our children misbehaving but that doesn’t help solve the problem. Let’s try to come up with some solutions to prevent these events. Teenagers and preteens are always full of energy and enthusiasm that needs a lot of guidance and monitoring. It’s a big job but we can do it!

  • momof2 October 1, 2011 (11:41 am)

    Based on my past experience, I urge parents to be vigilant about keeping track of their teens because in an emergency situation the SPD and other kids’ parents are often useless and clueless. Talk to your teens’ friends’ parents, get to know them, and join forces with them to know where your kids are and who they’re with. Just because you can reach them on their cells doesn’t mean you know that they’re safe.

  • Neighbor October 1, 2011 (12:04 pm)

    Is no one bothered by the boys thinking it’s ok to be bossing/degrading these girls around like this? The fact that young girls are drinking and being told by older boys what to do brings to mind date rape. Mothers talk to your girls they need all the empowerment they can get today. As to the boys, they need a trip to the woodshed.

  • yeah-me October 1, 2011 (12:07 pm)

    Isn’t anyone disturbed about the animal heart in the middle of all of this?

  • Alki Resident October 1, 2011 (12:23 pm)

    If I had been a 911 operator,I would’ve warranted kids getting into a car drunk driving, an emergency.Even had one cop car showed up it would’ve made a difference.I don’t think I would’ve told the kids I was calling 911 because kids normally scatter.Im proud of Jennifer for being a parent first and handling this.I think those girls really felt like they were out of their comfort zone being there in the first place,and Jennifer only confirmed it for them.Im sure this also gave them a wake up call about how easy they could’ve been a statistic last night.Soltice Park has been a hang out and hide out for many years.We lived two blocks from it five years ago and it was busy then with creepers and illegal activity.

  • Dean October 1, 2011 (12:24 pm)

    What is this “white powder”, the whole story sounds a little screwy and weird – good job though mother teresa.

  • john October 1, 2011 (12:27 pm)

    Heres the thing. I myself was froshed back in the day and experienced many of these same things. This is the most blatant overreaction I’ve ever seen. The “white powder” as she so ominously calls it was obviously flour. And I know these guys and they clearly had no creepy sexual intentions as she implies multiple times. I also know for a fact that anyone who was driving did not have a sip of alcohol. These guys are not idiots and honestly, kids are much better about not drunk driving then adults. I saw many of them hours later an they had all been responsible. She jumps to these conclusions with minimal evidence, now incriminating these students and possibly getting them expelled, messing up al of their very bright futures. They are good people with good intentions, I know all of them personally, and it’s 100 percent in good fun. Froshing is a bonding experience, which at the very least, is always a memorable and positive experience in hindsight. It’s biased articles like these, which portray these ridiculous assumptions as fact to the public, that get all of the idiot adults riled up in an angry commenting frenzy. It’s irresponsible, unfair, and honestly pathetic.

  • funkietoo October 1, 2011 (12:34 pm)

    Thank you Jennifer. It takes courage to walk up to a group and intervene.

    By your description and what the young girl told you about the switches…this is Bullying, with an element of sexual harrassment. We adults need show the same courage as Jennifer; call it what it is; and stop it when we see it. There is power in confidence and numbers. Encourage other adults and teens to gather with you in order to stop the bullying.

    We also need to give our children the tools to know how to stop it, and even better, not participate.

    I have approached several incidents, demanding that if stop. One was when a friend and I were driving along 15th NW and he saw a man beating a woman. We pulled over (at the same time a car of four teenagers pulled over–2 boys/2 girls), to see what was going on and help. My friend pulled the man off the woman,–the man had her on the ground, punching her in the face. She rolled over on her face, and when I rolled her back over to see if she was okay…I gasped. I had gone to high school with her. Anyway, the teens called the police and we all waited for their arrival. Needless to say, we were very impressed with the teens.

  • cjboffoli October 1, 2011 (12:54 pm)

    JanS: The issue is not whether drunk driving is a serious crime and whether or not the police should respond to reports of it. The issue is whether the SPD has sufficient officers to immediately respond to every call they get. And from the sound it it, they don’t. Nor to they have the ability to stop every crime before it happens.
    jim: While ‘huge’ may indeed be relative, it was my understanding that Seattle has gained more than 46,000 residents in the last decade alone and that the percentage of officers per capita has declined in that time. The national average is about one police officer for every 271 residents. New York City has one officer for every 218 residents. In Seattle we have one officer for every 500.
    The SPD itself has also self-identified problems with an insufficient number of officers to ensure equitable and consistent response across the city. They are also apparently working through issues of outdated systems with work shifts and patrol beats.

    • WSB October 1, 2011 (1:04 pm)

      Open message to first-time commenters coming here as this circulates – Varied opinions are welcome but our site rules require that they be voiced respectfully, without name-calling or profanity. One “what an overreaction” comment that we have received will not be published, as it is laden with the latter. Thanks – Tracy (WSB editor)

  • john October 1, 2011 (1:17 pm)

    Also, i just want to reiterate the fact that this ridiculous article makes it very likely that these kids will get in a serious and no a doubt completely over-the-top amount of trouble. So other than the fact that it’s full of sensationalist exaggerations and assumptions about people it has a picture of (libel?), the article will do a lot of harm to all involved as well. I understand that Ms. Hall must feel very good about herself for saving those two poor helpless young girls from the evil upperclassmen who no doubt wanted to sexually abuse them because there’s no way they could have just been joking around and building friendships that would last throughout highschool and maybe beyond, but I wish she would realize that things are not always going to be the worst case scenario, especially before printing something of this magnitude.

  • GHS October 1, 2011 (1:19 pm)

    I got froshed as a freshmen at garfield. I can honestly say that it was a very positive experience for me and all my friends. Its true that we were subject to some of the activities posted here, but we all had the option to not do any of the activities if we didnt want to. There were always designated drivers and the freshmen always got rides home. Everyone i talked to that year had similar experiences. I dont know if that was the case for these girls, but the majority of froshing is entirely optional to everyone involved. Obviously all of you “concerned” parents who think you know whats best for everyone will try endlessly to ruin our fun, but nobody will ever stop froshing from happening at garfield. Its hard to describe to parents that it really isnt a problem. I guess you just maybe have to be part of the Garfield community to understand. All i know is that when i came home freshmen year covered in mustard with a shaved head, my parents just laughed. They were ok with it because i came home with a smile on my face and stories about the most fun day of high school i had ever had. If you really understood what froshing is, you wouldnt want to take that away from anyone

  • ummm October 1, 2011 (1:32 pm)

    The whole situation makes me uneasy. While I wish SPD had been on these kids’ butts, I can’t really blame them if there simply aren’t enough officers to go around.

    I am glad to hear, though, that there are still kids out there who can call their parents when they’re in a spot of trouble. I wish more of them had done the same, instead of (as I’m sure we’re all assuming) getting into cars with older kids who had been drinking.

  • GenHillOne October 1, 2011 (1:48 pm)

    “These guys are not idiots” – well, John, it seems like many of us disagree. Or without name-calling, let’s say they were “acting like idiots.” Good for you, Jennifer. Those thinking this is an overreaction may need to do some reflection and wonder just how out-of-touch they might be. There are bad decisions made every weekend by good kids. I’d much rather have them learn a tough lesson with SPD than an EMT.

  • BobLoblaw October 1, 2011 (1:50 pm)

    TR: Did you post this story or someone else on your team? Only asking because it doesn’t seem like the type of thing you would normally post (The image of ‘innocent until proven guilty’ minors and single-sourced allegation of crimes, for example, doesn’t seem like the standards you have held yourself to in the past).

  • jim October 1, 2011 (1:51 pm)

    Seattle population since 1960: +51K

    1960 557,087 19.1%
    1970 530,831 −4.7%
    1980 493,846 −7.0%
    1990 516,259 4.5%
    2000 563,374 9.1%
    2010 608,660 8.0%

    If the police force is the same as it was in the 60s then it seems like reasonable starting point. I have no interest in having a police force that’s large enough to respond to every call.

    As John points out the hysterics stemming from the false assertion that kids were driving drunk are an overreaction. Besides, what’s the SPD supposed to do? Dispatch a cars to the area and set up a road blocks to search for kids who someone claims may have been drinking and subsequently driving? Imagine the uproar here if they’d done that but hadn’t responded to one of several more important calls that were probably made around the same time. We have an overburdened PD that needs to prioritize. It sounds like they did a fine job doing that in this instance. I moved to Seattle 20 years ago and have called for SPD assistance a number of times for everything from assault and robbery at my business to parking infractions near my home and I’ve been 100% satisfied with their responses.

    This sounds much more like a parenting opportunity than an issue for the SPD.

  • GHS October 1, 2011 (1:55 pm)

    also white powder? does this high school teacher seriously think that a bunch of teenagers could afford that much cocaine? and then just leave it there? it was obviously flower. stop overreacting

  • jack October 1, 2011 (2:29 pm)

    I competely agree with john. The fact that she added that “white powder” was lying around is obviously an attempt to make the reader think that some sort of illegal drug other than alcohol was being used, when it is obvious that that white powder was flour, or baking soda. The animal heart is a little gross but the point of froshing sometimes is for it to be a gross experience. Gross, but never life threatening. I also doubt that there was drinking and driving, as every high schooler has had the fact that drinking and driving is bad pounded into their head since they were 5. These kids aren’t stupid, they go to Garfield which is one of the best schools in the state. Ms. Hall was not saving lives but ruining them by doing this.

  • Velo_nut October 1, 2011 (2:36 pm)

    Over react much?

  • lets be reasonable October 1, 2011 (2:39 pm)

    This does seem very excessive but I’m positive that Ms. Hall was misinterpreting the situation. While I’m sure that she did stumble upon a group of high-schoolers hazing, the ulterior sexual motives as well as the alleged cocaine use (there are a lot of things that are white powders that aren’t illicit substances especially given that flour is an integral component of most hazings) seem purely speculative and should be regarded as such. Also, underage drinking is not a direct indicator of drunk driving; just because some of the boys were drinking does not necessarily mean that they were planning on getting behind the wheel later. While this story is shocking, it also seems to be intentionally inflammatory. In her citation of state law, Ms. Hall ironically confuses the word “liable” with “libel”, which is what this entire post actually is. To speculate so publically without any real evidence about serious accusations such as assault and substance abuse is a choice that could have a severe negative effect on these kids even if Jennifer was wrong. The truth is that regardless of her good intentions, Ms. Hall could have no real idea of what was going on except for what she saw in the moments that she was there before they fled. Therefore, I suggest that we all view this article as objectively as possible and understand that as shocked and outraged as we might be, this story might not be as factual as it seems.

  • shfy 1 October 1, 2011 (2:52 pm)

    soooo john. sounds to me like a lot of butt covering and backpedaling, which happens when people are doing what they shouldn’t be doing and get caught. and those two girls are a very clear voice of opposing perspective that you should take heed of….no not everyone was having fun.

  • 35this35mph October 1, 2011 (3:15 pm)

    I don’t think that these kids can get into trouble that is out of proportion to the rules or laws that were actually broken. WSB is not a court of law… As these are “smart” kids (as has been pointed out by a few of their apologists here) I assume they are smart enough to know what the potential consequences of their actions are. So I assume too that they are prepared to face those consequences. I, for one, don’t buy the assertion that the culture at Garfield is unique and therefore “safe” for those involved. For those of you who made it through your “froshing” unscathed, congratulations. Please don’t assume that your experience was the standard.

  • GenHillOne October 1, 2011 (3:30 pm)

    Yes, John, John, GHS, (others?), sounds like some butt-covering to me too.

    “also white powder? does this high school teacher seriously think that a bunch of teenagers could afford that much cocaine? and then just leave it there? it was obviously flower. stop overreacting” – When did the writer say how much powder was there? Or that they didn’t come back for it? Or that the powder was the only indication of drug use? Or that the girls didn’t say people were snorting that floUr. Were you there?

    Newsflash. While not all teens are idiots, not all adults are either. Let’s add that underage + beer cans (in a public park no less) = illegal *period*

  • doug October 1, 2011 (3:57 pm)

    Froshing and Bullying are two VERY different things. bullying is known as consistently picking on, harassing, mistreating someone younger or smaller. bullying is ALWAYS against the victims will. bullying excludes people on a regular basis and makes the victim feel alone and left out. froshing is OPTIONAL. froshing includes people. it initiates the new class into garfield. froshing is FUN. i know kids who were froshed severely, they had fun though. it is an experience. i dont know of a kid who was froshed and didnt have fun. not one. it is weird that guys were froshing girls, this basically never happens but the girls could have been easily been distraught from the animals heart which im sure they thought was gross and the alcohol use. as a freshmen, alcohol is intimidating but those freshmen were not in danger. while it is possible those kids were driving drunk, it is HIGHLY unlikely. there could have easily been two sober kids driving the two cars that this teacher did not see. im 100% sure this powder was FLOWER, nothing like cocaine that was hinted at. back to bullying though, in middle school we had a class once a week on bullying, it was drilled into our heads that its a consistent ongoing thing, froshing is twice a year, it is not a contunuous stint like actual bullying is. garfield is a school of spirit and tradition, this only happens the student body being unified, and this unity only happens from inclusion of all 4 grades. freshmen are not alienated but included in the student bodys spirit afterwards. lastly, this will COMPLETELY ruin the future of these upperclassmen, they will learn nothing from the punishment because froshing will never go away at gfield and their college future will be hurt. this will only strengthen the unified student body distrust and disliking of ghs administration and overprotective, worrysome teachers who dont truly understand teenagers

  • NFiorentini October 1, 2011 (4:00 pm)

    I don’t think that this teacher was suggesting that the “white powder” was cocaine; some of the posters here…wow! It was probably flour or powdered sugar and a prop of some sort in all of this. And if these kids were acting intoxicated and there were empty beer cans in the vicinity, she absolutely should’ve called the police and the police absolutely should’ve gotten there quickly. Kids shouldn’t be consuming alcohol and *no one* should be drinking and driving. This isn’t that hard, people.

  • Santiago October 1, 2011 (4:29 pm)

    They obviously had designated drivers, but this lady wouldn’t have known that, she was too busy assuming and calling 911

  • Santiago October 1, 2011 (4:29 pm)

    also the white powder is flour, obviously.

  • Lfauntleroy October 1, 2011 (4:37 pm)

    Sounds like some of those posting believe that if you are smart and go to a successful high school and you have a bright future well then you should be allowed to break the law and be above reproach when you are caught misbehaving, lying, cheating or participating in illegal underage drinking. It sounds like there are folks who are more concerned at what these kids have to loose then what lessons they have to learn from getting caught…and taking responsibility for their actions. It sounds like some folks are supporting youth to grow up and believe that the rules don’t apply to them just like some of our politicians and law makers who get caught doing the damndest things…you’d think they would be smart enough to avoid. Shame on those of you who don’t believe that these kids (if they even get in trouble) deserve to face some embarrassing consequences for their behavior. And really if they do end up dealing with authorities then maybe just maybe they will learn some hard lessons now that will protect them from much larger issues in the future!!

  • Dave October 1, 2011 (4:49 pm)

    I walked my dogs through Solstice park last night maybe a few hours after this (8p or so). And there were some kids up there and it was really strange. I walked in from the north side, and I heard what sounded like a girl, slightly hysterical, obviously overly drunk, sort of yelling. I can pretty much count on happening onto groups of kids at Solstice on Fridays and Saturday nights, and all throughout the summer. For the most part they’re standing around and talking, and I assume they’re smoking pot and/or drinking.
    But this was different, and when they saw my dogs they started shushing her. It was pitch dark so I didn’t see how many, maybe 3 girls and 2 guys. The girl wasn’t shushing and I immediately sort of froze. I thought to ask that everything was okay or whatever, but honestly it was so strange I just kind of froze and kept walking. As I walked I looked back and the two boys were standing on the table watching me walk away. If I had my phone I’d have probably called the police, but apparently that woulnd’t have done any good.
    I wished I had said something. Growing up, I never was apart of anything that involved anything malicious towards another like this, so I didn’t even consider that maybe these girls felt trapped by these boys and needed a way out. I won’t make that mistake again though, I really appreciate the example that the teacher who wrote the post made. I just had my first daughter under 8 weeks ago, and I can only hope that I raise her to make good decisions the situations she ends up in, and hopefully to avoid them alltogether. It really hits home.
    I just got home from walking my dogs and daughter through there, and saw the large animal heart. That’s really weird.

  • Kg October 1, 2011 (4:51 pm)

    Am I in before the “hazing/underage drinking is ok” crowd?

  • Left&Wright October 1, 2011 (5:06 pm)

    This was a bunch of older boys, at least some of them drunk, with girls as young as fourteen who apparently didn’t know what they were getting into. Even doug, the poster who says everything was all in good fun, thinks it was weird that these boys were froshing girls. I’ve raised two teenagers and I know what kind of trouble kids can get into. But high school senior boys, alcohol, and freshman girls are a bad mix. Whether the police should have been involved I can’t say, but Jennifer Hall did the right thing by interfering with their so-called fun.

  • sam-c October 1, 2011 (5:08 pm)

    doug- you can cook with flowers, but when people bake with white powdery stuff, it’s usually FLOUR.

    and for the SPD department size apologists, it would take many more city employees to respond to multi-vehicle accident caused by drunk driving than a response to a 911 call of reported illegal activity. (which under-age drinking is) luckily it doesn’t seem like there was an accident.

  • Pat October 1, 2011 (5:10 pm)

    We have two posters who sound like current or recent students at Garfield. Both of them say everyone has fun in froshing. I assume that “john” is a man, and I’m curious whether “GHS” is as well. I ask because I’ve encountered situations in which a young woman is uncomfortable and feeling harassed, but in which the young men involved always insist that everything’s fine and they’re just having fun, or teasing, or playing around.

    Sometimes young women don’t feel like they can speak up against what the group is doing — and high-school freshmen are, what, 14 years old? That’s not a good age for publicly resisting peer pressure no matter what gender you are. So before concluding that “everyone” enjoys froshing, it might be worthwhile to find a way to ask the young women involved, confidentially, if they indeed found it as fun as the young men insist it was.

  • thisisok October 1, 2011 (5:53 pm)

    First off, there is no date rape or anything like that during hazing. Second, the freshmen can always say no and choose to be a part of it. Third, it is a good experience to be involved in the community. Parents need to quit overreacting because nobody is or ever has gotten hurt from this. I have been a part of both sides (the froshed, and the froshing) and can personally say that being froshed is a lot more fun because you get to know upperclassmen. Parents are hypocrites because they were doing the exact same thing as teenagers. Parents these days… stop being old curmudgeons.

  • jim October 1, 2011 (6:19 pm)

    “…and for the SPD department size apologists, it would take many more city employees to respond to multi-vehicle accident caused by drunk driving than a response to a 911 call of reported illegal activity”

    While that’s entirely true, are you saying that taxpayers should hire enough police to respond quickly to every 911 call? Even superfluous calls? And just which 911 responses would prevent this multi-vehicle accident? That’s exactly what the 911 operator was trying to determine.

    And along the lines of that same argument, it would take far fewer city employees to respond to 911 calls if parents did a better job of parenting. I think that was one of the points that the teacher was trying to make.

  • Jennifer October 1, 2011 (6:22 pm)

    Jennifer Hall here — about to go to the movie that I was planning on before I thought I’d better post, as a good citizen. So, this will be short. Re. the white powder. . . There were beer cans — “game day” beer cans, white powder, the smell of beer, kids slurring their speech and lying about their age. My dogs actually started licking the white stuff before I pulled them away to walk the girls down. I said to them, “Eww! What is that creepy white powder stuff?” One said, “I think it’s sugar or something.” I’ve been around for awhile. I knew it wasn’t cocaine, just as much as I knew the animal heart was an animal heart. And I was particularly disturbed with that thing being batted around, Thanks for all of your comments. I recommend stophazing.org. Pro-hazing articles are included for balance.

  • Cakebake October 1, 2011 (7:11 pm)

    If u think this is a big deal your lame
    That stuff happens every friday
    Theres WAY more serious stuff goin on!
    Hey any idea whos breaking into houses around here?

  • drg October 1, 2011 (7:58 pm)

    “Positive bonding experience” or not, if see anything like this going on in my neighborhood I’m calling police. Period.

  • velo_nut October 1, 2011 (8:40 pm)

    Oh no!!! Kids are having fun!
    The older you get, the dumber you think teens are.
    Calm down, eat your cream of wheat, watch your 700 club and relax.

  • I. Ponder October 1, 2011 (8:46 pm)

    I’m proud there are still a few people like Jennifer Hall, who know right from wrong and are willing to do something about it. I wonder if any of the kids came to West Seattle while locked in the trunk of a car. I wouldn’t be surprised. Thanks for your heroic action!

  • K2 October 1, 2011 (9:06 pm)

    Dont be alarmed get involved, start a parent group that scours the parks, our public services (yes the police force is a socialist concept) are dying

  • CitizenParentformerHSer October 1, 2011 (9:10 pm)

    WOW! I’m astounded by the pro hazing comments. The rationales behind the arguments are the most disturbing part of this whole thing. But, I suppose if you’re going to engage in this sort of activity one would have to justify it in their own mind. Otherwise you’re just acting like a drunk thug pushing around underclassmen because you can. To say that it’s not wrong is wrong. That it can’t be stopped is wrong. That all you’re doing by punishing those involved is ruining their lives… is right and wrong. Meaning it could ruin their lives if they don’t take responsibility for their actions and realize that you can’t do this in the real world, even if it is only on Friday night. You kids (yes kids) involved can; deny it causes any harm; state that drinking any amount of alcohol is OK when you’re not of age as long as you have a designated driver; use “I did it so it must be OK” as a defense; and my favorite, use “everyone has fun!” as a defense and you will ruin your lives. Or. You can learn something from this. Look around and see things from the point of view of others. Like those girls who didn’t really know what was about to happen to them. Unless they signed a waiver of course stating what was about to happen in detail including where they would be taken too and what illegal activities they would be around or forced to partake in. Even if they did, the contract would have to signed by a parent or legal guardian. Because you see kids in the real world when you lay your hands on someone or take them somewhere against their will or pour stuff on them or call them names, it’s against the law. Permission in the real world is quite different than in H.S.. Ask any lawyer and they will tell you. So, doing the latter may actually save your life, at a minimum it will make you a better person. *Boy oh boy do I remember the day that my new boss and coworkers at M-Soft took me down to Lake Sammamish and told me to do a bunch of stuff then they poured stuff all over me and then told me to jump in the lake. Now those were leaders. Really setting the example and showing how they rule over us serfs, I mean coworkers.*

  • ldbelknap October 1, 2011 (9:33 pm)

    Just another incident involving Garfield and their holier-than-thou students who can do no wrong. And for those of you who don’t think this kind of behavior does any harm or that alcohol is never involved, keep telling yourself that.

  • Lura Ercolano October 1, 2011 (9:54 pm)

    Did I do dumb stuff when I was a teen? Yeah, duh, of course. Some of it was even fun. But a lot of it wasn’t fun at all, and a lot was dangerous.

    But I was NEVER dumb enough to think that grown-ups wouldn’t call the police if/when they observed obvious illegal activity, or that we wouldn’t wind up in the news if caught on camera by a by-passer. Duh.

    I give sincere thanks to Ms. Hull for reporting the activity, and to the Blog for covering the story.

  • miws October 1, 2011 (9:57 pm)

    I find it odd that so many commenters here claim that WSB, other commenters and Ms Hall are overreacting, and making assumptions, yet are so absolutely certain themselves that there was no drinking, no drunk driving, or anything else going on that could have put these kids and/or the general public in danger



  • P-star October 1, 2011 (9:59 pm)

    Jennifer must be bitter because she didn’t get invited for froshing when she was a freshman. Take extra Centrum Silver, soak your dentures, and relax. No one got hurt. Period. There were no reports of a 10 car pile up on Fauntleroy involving teenagers & DUI’s. 911 is for life-threatening emergencies. Not a wishy-washy, play-by-play of an overreacting teacher. Hate to have 2-3 officers respond to this while REAL CRIME is afoot.

  • JL October 1, 2011 (10:30 pm)

    Thank you, Jennifer Hall, for your actions. Two scared freshmen females were able to remove themselves from a potentially dangerous situation, thanks to your calm intervention.

    I highly doubt the young women who had ketchup smeared on their bodies by upper classmen males found the situation “amusing” and “fun”. Unwanted touching is sexual harassment. Had this happened on school grounds, the young men touching the freshmen females would have been suspended, if SPS rules and policy were correctly followed.

    However, since the froshing did not occur at Garfied or at a GHS school event, the upper classmen males will not receive any punishment from the school administration.

    I urge parents of the GHS freshmen class to be proactive, call the school administration yourselves, and get the parent groups involved, so a discussion on the dangers of froshing takes place. Especially as there is a commentator above who says froshing at Garfield occurs twice a year.

    I agree with Cakebake, there is “way more serious stuff going on with our teenagers”. However, this does not mean we should not take action in situations where young women are uncomfortable and feeling unsafe or harassed.

  • a-nom October 1, 2011 (10:33 pm)

    @ Sam-C – Thank you, LOL. Doug, if you’re going to post, please make sure you are posting intelligently or has too much froshing made you grab flowers to thicken your gravy?

    @ Jacob, John, Jack and Doug – Curious on your age / generation. Sure hope you aren’t a parent teaching your children that such behavior is acceptable. Being booksmart does not make you street smart…that comes from good parenting and proper role models such as this teacher. I’m guessing you come from a comfortable background, perhaps from well known multi-generational families raised in West Seattle (or your neighborhood) that enabled you to slide into the ‘in crowd’ when you were this age. Try being on the other side of the fence. The joke is only funny to the joker. Often the person on the other side does not find it funny, is not having fun, but is rather too timid and insecure to speak out against the cool kids. This type of idiotic behavior will not assist these children in succeeding in life as adults. This type of behavior does not prepare you for the professional world.

    We hear accounts of this type of inappropriate behavior occurring in public on a regular basis but folks are often too polite or timid to speak up about it. Thank you Jennifer to stepping in. Clearly not everyone in the group was comfortable and your courage helped them get out of the situation. Everyone, pay attention to our surroundings. Speak up in situations that seem abnormal or call the police if you don’t feel safe speaking up. Parents, talk to your kids, help them have the inner self confidence to know when a situation is wrong and to speak out for themselves. For the bloggers that think this is appropriate, you are enabling and or participating in a society that is lacking respect and humanity for one another. There should be a license required to breed in this country…

  • Dave October 1, 2011 (10:33 pm)

    It is interesting that there are so many posts that are pro Froshing. I have no doubt that their experience may have seemed harmless to them, and that it’s fun.
    I remember in High School, there were countless experiences where one group of kids was having fun, while the other group was terrified/victimized. I’m not saying that this is such an occasion, but it’s interesting to me that the apologists refuse to acknowledge the propriety of seniors engaging in this activity with friggin Freshman, and I don’t imagine they’ll ever address it either. Nor will they address that two of the girls felt creeped out and called their parents to come get them. And trust me when I say, if there were two kids that had the courage to do the right thing and remove themselves from the situation, there were many times more than that feeling that way but not courageous enough to do something about.
    Undoubtedly many of these Froshings are harmless and fun for all etc, but it completely depends on the characters of the seniors that are doing it. I have two brothers, and both were in grades where I’d have felt comfortable in the situation. The kids were kind-hearted and polite and not destructive. In my grade however, there was an overall nasty aura of destructive rebelliousness. The drivers of the grade were more predators than anything, that thrilled in victimizing. I hated almost every day at school and attempted to be invisible.
    Frankly it’s shocking to me that this idea can be lost on the obtuse apologists posting on here.
    Again, last night I came upon a scene where I did nothing. I regret that now, next time I’m absolutely going to do something. I suppose it being dark changed things a little bit.

  • Dave October 1, 2011 (10:41 pm)

    P-star, by your logic then, we should never worry about a situation where kids are drinking and driving while older kids are messing around with Freshman (some of whom felt creeped out)?
    Obviously not every time this happens there is going to be an accident, but this is what precedes 10-car pile ups my friend. You can’t know whether or not there’s going to be an accident, you can only know the types of activities that precede them (drunk driving being #1).
    You’re obviously quite young to log this lame cabbage of her being a spoil sport because she wasn’t invited to hang with the cool kids thing; which actually says a lot about you: that somehow being popular and being invited with the cool kids is really important to you.
    Hopefully, one day, you’ll grow up and realize that there’s way more to life than that. Drinking, being popular, will one day take a back seat to you. It obviously hasn’t yet, but it will. You’ll have kids, and you’ll look at them and think “good lord I hope you have the good sense not to hang out with loser kids that manipulate freshman girls and drive around while drinking”. If you don’t, then I’ve lost hope in our youth.

  • Jacob October 2, 2011 (12:05 am)

    @a-nom I’m 26 and have been on the receiving end of some bullying/taunting/etc during my schooling. Nothing constant, but enough to know it doesnt make you feel good.

    I just suspect Jennifer is highly inaccurate regarding the Drug use, DUIs and Sexual Harassment mentioned in her report. I never condoned the hazing, and I don’t have a problem with calling the cops for underage drinking or whatever, but some of the stronger accusations are likely unwarranted, overreactions, and paint a completely inaccurate picture of the events. Honestly I’m surprised Tracy decided to publish the full summary because those claims do not seem to be supported by anything.

  • waterworld October 2, 2011 (12:18 am)

    Interesting article in the June, 2011 edition of The Bark, the Garfield HS PTSA newsletter, on page 2, entitled “Keeping Kids Safe: Hazing.” The author discusses both the pro-hazing crowd, who note how “froshing” contributes to bonding, and the not-so-pro-hazing crowd, who witness students experiencing fear and humiliation.
    The author also notes that “Some extreme and concerning recent examples of hazing at GHS include a freshman who was paddled and forced to jump off the 520 bridge from a height of 30 feet, swim back to shore, and then drink. Another freshman was taken to the emergency room at Harborview for alcohol poisoning from under the 520 overpass in the arboretum. A drunk and bruised freshman student was driven to a street corner near the school and told to find his way home, across town.”
    Love those bonding experiences.
    Maybe kids don’t read the PTSA newsletter and don’t realize that sometimes these rituals are quite dangerous. But there’s also the Garfield HS Student Handbook, which explains that hazing, including “froshing,” is a felony offense, regardless of whether the student being initiated is compliant or not. (There goes your “it’s totally optional” argument.) The handbook lists activities that often are part of GHS hazing: “Prohibited activities include, but are not limited to the following: dunking in the lake, face painting, baby powder, whipped cream, shaving cream, boxing, other forms of ‘initiation,’ humiliation, or abuse. Consequences include: No school activities for the remainder of the school year (e.g., no Purple and White Day Dance, no Senior Prom), and Suspension or expulsion, and/or possible criminal charges…”
    At least it’s clear what the administration position is on the issue. It will be difficult for the upperclass students involved to say they didn’t know this kind of activity is, at a minimum, frowned upon, and at a maximum, grounds for referral to prosecutors.
    Having said that, I’m not itching for teenagers to get prosecuted (not that my opinion matters one way or another on this subject). It would be wonderful, though, if the older students involved in this incident could open their minds to the apparent reality that some girls were not having any fun at all, and that it is unquestionably dangerous to trek across town to drink beer and haze junior class members.

  • Lfauntleroy October 2, 2011 (12:25 am)

    @Lura Ercolano…that’s exactly what I’m talking about. These so called smart kids were dumb enough to get caught… had no shame when approached by a grown up armed with a cell phone camera!!
    And anyways to those posters-Jacob, John, Jack and Doug- who think “froshing” is a fantastic way to “bond” with upperclassmen. WHO cares about bonding with classmates who do stupid stuff like finding humor in humiliating others!!

  • ripper October 2, 2011 (1:47 am)

    Bullying??!! Oh come on lady, let kids be kids! This actually sounds like a fun time when you’re a high schooler. Jeez, overprotective much?

  • TDe October 2, 2011 (6:43 am)

    Yeah, Ripper, Velo Nut, John and others… Let kids be kids. Let them drink and drive and say nothing so they can kill themselves and others on our roadways.

    If you were there in the park and know for certain there was no drinking, no drugging, no over the top hazing, then stand up and state it honestly and directly. Admit who you are and what you were doing in the park, and tell us why one lone woman so intimidated you while you were doing nothing wrong, that you had to run for it. If you weren’t present then give the teacher some credit for assessing the situation accurately and knowing what she was talking about, having dealt with teens in the classroom and at home.

    I give her a lot of credit for being concerned enough to at least try and stop them from driving while intoxicated.

  • MMB October 2, 2011 (9:33 am)

    The apologists for the froshing use excuses and explanations that are so blatantly irrational, illogical, and immature that they undercut their own statements of being bright and responsible kids that would *always* do things safely and responsibly.

    Secondly, your immaturity is again demonstrated by the need to resort to ad-hominem attacks (700club, dentures, cream of wheat). If you had a reasonable or constructive argument to make, I assume you would have made it rather than attempting to invalidate others. Its a rather sophomoric tactic.

    In no way is mixing alcohol with 14 year old teenagers safe, good, clean fun.

    I hope your parents are reading these posts as evidence to that fact that you have learned nothing from this. And clearly the consequences to you have not been severe enough.

  • Maryb3925 October 2, 2011 (9:42 am)

    One way to combat dangerous shenanigans in public places is to claim the places for uncool adults and families. When we are visible walking our dogs, riding our bikes, playing with our kids or hanging out (not hazing), the teens do not gather there.

    Don’t avoid these places, crowd them.

  • LivesinWS October 2, 2011 (9:57 am)

    Hmmm. The bullies seem more than a tad defensive in their protestations that everyone was havin’ a gooood time.

  • Wenizzle October 2, 2011 (9:58 am)

    It seems to me that the kids were concerned about getting caught – otherwise why couldn’t they do this in their own neighborhood parks? Afraid parents or parents friends who know them might stumble upon them at the park and stop them? Thank you Jennifer for diffusing this situation.
    We never had froshing at my HS but I did experience it in college. It was all in the “name of good fun”/ “bonding” even though students every year were killed by alcohol poisoning or drunk driving etc….
    There are lots of ways to bond and have fun that does not include alcohol or humiliating a fellow student. Be more creative.

  • Loto October 2, 2011 (10:03 am)

    The issue with the article is that it presents assumptions as fact. Yes obviously if the things that jennifer hall said were being done, that would be unacceptable. But they are based on minimal evidence and I can tell you as someone with inside information on the story, they are simply not true. There was no drunk driving, most of the girls were upperclassmen who she mistook for freshman, and the guys themselves had absolutely zero sexual intentions. Its peculiar that a teacher of all people would be so ignorant as to assume these things, and people should not view her side of the story as fact because it isn’t.

  • Thistle October 2, 2011 (10:11 am)

    Thank you Ms. Hall for stepping up and thank you Lura Ercolano and Lfauntleroy for your very real and down to earth comments. I graduated in 2001, so my high school years are not that far off. First thing I did after reading this article and some of the comments here was call my parents to thank them from the bottom of my heart that they raised me to have some common sense and more importantly, self/community pride. My friends were not perfect, many of them were not fortunate enough to have the stable home life that I did, and yet we would never in a million years even think to do this type of crap, frankly it would have felt beneath us to waste our very precious time humiliating others and ultimately ourselves. Want to “bond” with upper classman, do what my high school did, get a list of individuals from local groups who need some work done at their house (painting, winterizing windows, trimming bushes, washing cars, etc…). Assign a few upperclassman a group of freshman, dress them up in ridiculous outfits (anything was allowed as long as it fell within normal school guidelines) and take said freshman to these houses were the fresh worked while the upper classman sat in long chairs a lightly harassed everyone by playing Barney sing along cd’s or something equally silly. It was actually kind of fun, the fresh felt like they got initiated, and SOMTHING GOOD came out of it as close to 80 homes had much needed work accomplished. A heck of lot better then kicking some poor dead animals heart around while drunk and acting like this is what life is all about.

  • Mitch October 2, 2011 (10:47 am)

    Loto, thank you for your perspective on this, but…teenaged boys with “absolutely zero sexual intentions.” That’s a good one.

  • LivesinWS October 2, 2011 (10:57 am)

    “the guys themselves had absolutely zero sexual intentions.”


  • Diana October 2, 2011 (12:16 pm)

    Hello to all –

    As someone who has inside information on this situation I would like to clarify a few points. First off, Loto is right. These boys were not interested in sexually harassing freshman girls. These boys are interested in girls their own age, not under developed fourteen year olds. It is ridiculous and unfair to assume that every high school boy just wants to get in a younger girls pants. Secondly, there were, NO DRUNK DRIVERS. All of these students are aware of the danger and risk and would not take their friends lives by something as stupid as driving drunk. Another unfair assumption that teenagers are stupid enough to do something like that. Do you people realize yet that these assumptions and this publication is libel? Another point, no freshman were forced to drink. Alcohol was kept away from them as a matter of fact. I am not saying underage drinking is acceptable, it isn’t. But that isn’t the issue at hand. The animal heart? Purchased from an Asian market. The white powder? Flour.

    This is a lot of assumption, libel, and overreaction. That isn’t fair to these students, many have carried a 4.0 gpa and are on track to being valedictorians. They are all active in the community with churches, clubs and sports. There were no malicious intentions in this incident.

  • GenHillOne October 2, 2011 (1:10 pm)

    I’m going to reiterate that all of the supporters’ arguments only strengthen how immature the thinking is. Book smart does not always translate to good decisions. Diane, you sound like a female. What happened could easily be considered sexual harassment; it depends on what the girls were feeling. It has nothing to do with “getting in pants.” It’s sad that you can’t comprehend that.

    I hope, as the freshman parent requested above, this is reported to GHS administration (thank you, waterworld, for the references). There is nothing acceptable about the behavior and if I had a middle-schooler – especially given some of the responses here – Garfield would be a big HELL NO. There are other, more desirable, programs for “smart” kids.

  • Lura October 2, 2011 (1:33 pm)

    Diana, you just publicly posted that you have inside information that felonies A and B were committed by future valedictorians, but not felonies C and D, and because of that, you think some sort of libel has occurred, but not by you?
    That is really not understanding what the word “libel” means. For one thing, until your post there really hasn’t been anything connecting the situation to particular individuals. Your post, however, gives sufficient information for parents and school administrators to connect the situation to particular students. That connection is on you, not the blog, certainly not the person who reported what she saw and heard.
    Nobody could even try to claim they had been libeled without first admitting that they were indeed part of underage drinking, contributing, hazing, disturbing the peace, and even littering. And after they had admitted all of that, they’d have an impossible time claiming that it is this article that has somehow damaged their reputation.

  • shfy 1 October 2, 2011 (2:00 pm)

    diana, ohh sweetie, do you even hear yourself? the trying to justify illegal behavior by saying they are ‘smarter’ than that falls pretty flat…they were not smart enough to say no to bullying/hazing, they were not smart enough to say no to public drinking, they were not smart enough to say no to public intoxication, they were not smart enough to say no to disrespecting other life by kicking around an animal heart(so very disturbing all on it’s own)…they were not smart enough to say no to ALL these things…but we should just assume that in a panicked run to flee the scene and get away they are absolutely smart enough to not drink and drive. FYI: they are now reaping the consequenses of dangerous and illegal behavior, which by your own statement they were all aware of the ‘danger and risk’. So this really should come as no suprise given as smart as you all are.

  • Bill October 2, 2011 (2:10 pm)

    This is an unfortunate case.

  • Doug October 2, 2011 (2:26 pm)

    All I can say is if you havent experienced froshing then you cant really shed any light on this. there is clearly a generation gap in this discussion BUT highschoolers have been drinking alcohol since the 60s and those kids from then are the adults now and they are functioning members of society. and upperclassmen who frosh are not trying to humiliate orput little kids in danger

  • CarpeDiem October 2, 2011 (2:43 pm)

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rtkI87FeqOY don’t criticize what you can’t understand

  • CarpeDiem October 2, 2011 (2:49 pm)

    in fact, watch Dazed and Confused. Based in 1976, it demonstrates a time when uptight APP parents didn’t post articles like this, and people had a lot more fun. Here’s something to think about: why did these kids have to go all the way to West Seattle to frosh? In the good old days kids used to be paddled right outside of school, no drunk driving involved.

  • Blahblahblahblah October 2, 2011 (3:00 pm)

    I have a friend who teaches at Garfield and this seems pretty much par for the course. It sounds like the only thing a lot of these wealthy absentee parents have taught their kids is how to throw a fit of disbelief and threaten a lawsuit when anyone questions their right to do exactly as they please.

    Oh, and I went to high school long after the 60’s (when all high school drinking began). What an impressive piece of historical insight that is. Thanks for the laugh.

  • waterworld October 2, 2011 (3:02 pm)

    Diana: The statements by Ms. Hall and publication of them by WSB do not meet the test for libel for a number of reasons, just a couple of which I’ll mention here. First, if a statement is true, it cannot be defamatory or libelous. Courts look to the statement as a whole, not to isolated parts of it, to determine whether it is true. Second, expressions of personal opinion, particularly on issues of public concern, are protected speech.
    So far, no one who claims to have inside information has challenged any number of Ms. Hall’s statements about what she saw. No one has said it is false that (a) the students had beer cans at the park,(b) some of the students had been drinking both at the park and at the house where the fun started, (c) at least two of the people being “froshed” were 14 year-old girls who told Ms. Hall they didn’t sign up for a trip to Solstice Park with older guys who were drinking, (d) part of the fun involved games played with a dead animal heart. All this talk of designated drivers and “no drunk drivers” only corroborates Ms. Hall’s statement that some of the young men had been drinking. And the possession of alcohol by these minors itself was a crime, regardless of whether any of them got behind the wheel.
    Some of what Ms. Hall said was clearly opinion, not fact. She told the 911 dispatcher that she was “concerned” that young men might be driving impaired, and that she thought “some” of the young men might be drunk. Statements of concerns or fears are not libel. Same with her statements about bullying and sexual harassment: Ms. Hall was quite clear that it is her personal view that treating underclassmen to evenings out at a distant park with beer and animal parts is bullying, and that she thought it was “possible” there was sexual harassment going on. It might be different if she had said “I saw young men sexually harassing fourteen year-old girls,” but she didn’t; she reported what the girls had told her and said it was possible the “froshing” would involve sexual harassment.
    Even if Ms. Hall reported something inaccurately, it doesn’t mean it’s libel. To be libel, the false and defamatory statements must be damaging to the older boys’ reputations. But first you have to consider the damage to these boys’ reputations caused by facts that their own supporters have corroborated: illegal possession of alcohol, transporting 14 year-old girls across town to hang out at a park while at least some kids drink, engaging in “froshing,” which the school handbook says is both a violation of school discipline code and a felony. How damaging can it be that Ms. Hall said she was afraid that they might also engage in sexual harassment or drunk driving? Face it, the truth is far more damaging to these kids’ reputation than any of Ms. Hall’s stated fears that it might have been worse.
    I don’t see this as a generation gap issue, either. I did some pretty outrageous things in high school, and I’m sure many of us did. But I wouldn’t have expected a pat on the head if I’d gotten caught — I would have expected some serious discipline at school and at home. Instead of people defending me publicly, I would have expected to be reminded that it didn’t matter if I thought I wasn’t putting anyone in danger, because the reality is that it’s dangerous for minors to be out drinking in a park at night.
    The best things these boys could do for their long-term reputations at this point would be to own up to conduct that was out-of-bounds or illegal and apologize to the families of younger kids who shouldn’t have been involved.

  • mookie October 2, 2011 (3:17 pm)

    “Another unfair assumption that teenagers are stupid enough to do something like that.”
    Riiiiight. That point of logic will never convince anyone.
    “I am not saying underage drinking is acceptable, it isn’t. But that isn’t the issue at hand.”
    High school kids were drinking, with beer cans all over the ground, and ran like weasels to their cars when they got called out on it. That IS just one of the “issues at hand.”
    “This is a lot of assumption, libel, and overreaction.”
    You keeping using that word, so it might be helpful to learn what it actually means. No student was identified by name, and they are not identifiable in the one photo published. For something to be libel, since libel is by definition false, if one reports something that is true, it cannot be libelous. Also, what Lura and waterworld said.
    So: underage drinking in a public park; beer-smelling, word-slurring underage boys scurrying away toward their cars; underage girls feeling creeped out and uncomfortable. Good luck, apologists, attempting to prove any of that was false.
    The “good kids, smart kids, 4.0 GPA, on track to valedictorians, blah blah blah” protestations are missing the point as well — or, perhaps unintentionally proving a point that book smart and being involved in sports and church does not magically make teenagers immune from doing dumb, sometimes dangerous things to/with each other (and then compound it by trying to argue about it online.)
    Oh, and @Doug? “…upperclassmen who frosh are not trying to humiliate orput little kids in danger.” and @thisisok? “Parents need to quit overreacting because nobody is or ever has gotten hurt from this.”
    You have no believable argument when you support this culture of hazing in light of the fact that “recent examples of hazing at GHS include a freshman who was paddled and forced to jump off the 520 bridge from a height of 30 feet, swim back to shore, and then drink. Another freshman was taken to the emergency room at Harborview for alcohol poisoning from under the 520 overpass in the arboretum. A drunk and bruised freshman student was driven to a street corner near the school and told to find his way home, across town.”
    Some of the teens posting here are just digging themselves in deeper; the fact that they don’t see that really does support that their decision-making abilities are, shall we say, immature at best. Still, I expect variations of the “No True Scotsman” logical fallacy to get posted in 3…2…1…

  • shfy 1 October 2, 2011 (3:38 pm)

    doug what you fail to realize is that YES, most of us HAVE been hazed/bullied in high school and/or college. those negative experiences are the reason for all of this outpouring of concern. we have been where you are…you have not been where we are.
    @ waterworld…we need a like button.

  • Kg October 2, 2011 (4:57 pm)

    I wonder how many “valedictorian” parents have been calling lawyers this weekend for the spin control come Monday morning?

  • Jane October 2, 2011 (5:00 pm)

    I would just like to say that I am astounded and appalled by the way people on both sides of this issue are addressing each other. As long as there is this “teens vs. adults” kind of mentality, nothing will ever be resolved. High school students aren’t stupid, and it is likely that the adults involved here aren’t either. I think that a lot of inflammatory language is being thrown around that is elevating the situation and obscuring the real issues at hand.

  • me October 2, 2011 (6:43 pm)

    So sad…Unfortunately this is one of the reasons why our society has degraded to the lows that it currently is in. To many damn people seem to think they know what is best for others…Well, you don’t!

    A bunch of kids having harmless fun (yes, HARMLESS!) and you treat them like they are out committing property crimes and/or crimes against others. Well, from what I see nether is the case. If you are a parent and don’t want your kids partaking in these activities then be a good parent and teach them accordingly. If your not a parent and/or are not affected, then keep your noses out of others business. Its up to the parents of these kids to “parent” them. NOT YOU!

    Its a public park and they have just as much right to be there as you.YOu help when asked for help, not FORCE your “help” upon others.

    Frankly, I would rather see my kids (boy and girl) out doing something like this rather than sitting on there butts all day in front of the TV and/or their Facebook page…..I guess most of you would prefer they have “virtual friends rather than actual friends…

    I wonder what the reason was for the original post, self gratification? The need to create drama? The need for self importance? I can only wonder….And to condemn the SPD for having common sense…laughable…. This whole thread really is pathetic!

    Btw, before being flamed, I am old enough to remember the 70’s very well and my kids were not involved in this…

  • Elizagrace October 2, 2011 (7:43 pm)

    Interesting that so many people feel like it is so innocent and these kids are “just having fun” and it is all so “harmless”… if that was the case, why come all the way to WS from Garfield? If that was the case, why did it seem as though the kids took off running?

    All for the fun having, but as someone who lives nearby, it is more frustrating than fun. Young adults, who are old enough to drive and not old enough to drink in the bars use the Seattle neighborhood parks, including Solstice and Lincoln, and Lowman and MeeKwamooks as their personal, private get hammered area.

    They leave their trash behind for the neighbors to pick up and the race up and down the streets like we are filming the 8th installment of “2Fast2Furious:WS ridin’ ”

    Bravo to the person who speaks up and says that this is a weird situation. Bravo to the person who doesn’t turn a blind eye and walk away. Bravo to the person who offers help even if it can be viewed as nosy, or rude – we need those kind of people. As a neighbor, I thank you.

  • philip October 2, 2011 (9:07 pm)

    You’re not a policeman, although you seem like the type who polices so you should not be getting these kids in trouble for a routine act of growing up. You obviously feel control over every situation is necessary, but do you think these kids really should be facing expulsion and long term suspension for these stupid things kids do? mind your own business because living life like a helicopter can’t be good for you.

  • SaraJeanQueen October 2, 2011 (10:25 pm)

    The fact that the high school boys commenting on this blog are defending their actions and obviously do NOT realize the problem with drinking, driving around and bringing freshman girls with them is alarming to me.
    Young girls aged 14-15 should not be subject to you binge drinking around them. Not to mention the slathering of condiments, animal heart and hitting them with a switch!?
    I’m young and went to my share of parties in high school – LATER years, junior and mostly senior – but never would I think this was okay. I really hope all the seniors involved get suspended.

  • CarpeDiem October 2, 2011 (11:10 pm)

    Alright SaraJean, care to explain how a few beers on a Friday is equivalent to binge drinking? Many seniors are 18 years old. In 1985 the drinking age was 18, and in everywhere except for America it still is. In my opinion, a large problem stems from the extreme concern that parents and figures of authority have for froshing. 10 years ago at garfield people had their heads shaved right by the portables, and froshing was generally carefree. If anyone is responsible for a dangerous shift in initiation rituals it is the parents and administrators that try to stop this behavior.

  • George October 3, 2011 (12:15 am)

    Its funny how every adult on this blog is applauding the fact that this women “discovered this catastrophe”. Thats B.S., yes sometimes this Hazing goes way over the top and a few students have been severely hurt, but 95% of the time froshing is safe, fun and enjoyable for everyone. The other 5%, is from all these parents who are so overprotective, that their children feel the need to beat the crap out of another human. And you better believe thats the case. The only kids that go crazy, are kids that have to hide wat they are doing from their parents. If your so shocked by this, raise your kids better, so they know that they shouldnt drink and drive and do other stupid things. I graduated in 2011 from garfield and i froshed kids and was froshed very badly. I was physically beaten up, but i grew from it a took it positively, because after that day each one of those upperclassmen who froshed me, respected me and treated me as a friend. They even got me lunch after.

    Getting rid of froshing is another step in destroying the special school that garfied is. We should accept the fact that it wont go away, and teach our students “nicer ways” to frosh and haze.

  • Frodo October 3, 2011 (12:18 am)

    I am a 54-year old father of two Garfield students who have been on both the delivering and receiving end of the froshing ritual. I understand the ritual well. I know the kids involved. I can appreciate that Jennifer Hall’s post has suddenly made life much more difficult for Garfield principal Ted Howard.
    Garfield’s administration does not condone froshing. But this is the reality. Garfield is not like any other Seattle high school, particularly the high schools in West Seattle, which by all accounts are deficient in nearly every respect. Based on the response of West Seattle parents to Jennifer’s blog post, it is easy to see why education suffers in West Seattle. And why parents in West Seattle would not understand what makes education at Garfield special.
    Let’s review the post itself. Jennifer Hall is a “teacher”, but it is difficult to imagine she has learned anything about high school kids from her years in the classroom, that she has developed any capacity to communicate, energize, or empathize with them. Her response to her encounter with these kids in Solstice Park was to instantly filter the events to fit her own preconceived notions about what “must” have been happening. She did not see the entire incident. She witnessed a snapshot, a slice in time. And from that snapshot – with no context, no prior knowledge of the kids and the tradition, and no effort to engage them in a neutral manner – she stitched together a “report” that was not only not objective, but that had almost no foundation in reality.
    One of the most important themes of high school is the passage of students from childhood to adulthood. When they enter, many are still barely pubescent. When they graduate, most are old enough to fight and die for their country.
    That’s some heavy sh*t. And to get from childhood to adulthood, high school kids have to press against parental and adult boundaries to learn who they are and what they will become.
    What does this mean? High school kids will drink. They will smoke weed. They will use profanity. They will have sex.
    If their parents don’t understand the imperative for high school children to test boundaries and experiment with reality, their kids will simply lie to to them. If the parents have strong and trusting relationships with their kids, the kids will still lie to them.
    The lying is part of growing up. The trusting relationship only means that the kids will have an innate sense of how far to push the boundaries, and when enough is enough. Will they take risks? Sure. Does the school need to impose limits? Absolutely. But ideally in the context of knowing that high school students need to own their actions.
    At Garfield, more than at any other high school in Seattle, the students own their actions. Garfield is remarkable for the independence it provides its students. Give Ted Howard a lot of credit for this student empowerment. It is unique among Seattle high schools, and particularly special because it occurs in the Central District in the most racially diverse student population in the city.
    At Garfield, the students “own” Post, the remarkable Outing Club that runs a year-round program of outdoor adventures for hundreds of students. Garfield students “own” The Messenger, historically one of the most celebrated high school newspapers in the country. Garfield students “own” music, with a nationally acclaimed orchestra and jazz band. Garfield students “own” their education, with scores of students routinely gaining admission to and attending the finest colleges and universities in the nation each year.
    So Garfield is a school that has its sh*t together. Nothing there happens without a reason and a purpose. Give Ted Howard credit for that, s well. He trusts the students, and they benefit from his trust, even as he knows sometimes they will cross the line.
    Does froshing cross the line? From my experience, it usually does not. What the kids posting on this blog have written is true. Froshing is a tradition at Garfield, which is to say it has endured because of a body of unwritten rules that almost always keep it on the “clean” side of the line.
    Garfield students “do” view froshing as a bonding experience. They “do” expect that participation by freshmen will be voluntary, with significant foreknowledge by the freshmen of the range of possible “activities”. If there is drinking involved, the expectation is that there will be designated drivers. The older students involved possess an exquisite sense of their responsibility to their charges, which they must carefully balance against rituals of passage they are administering with lusty enthusiasm. They care about the freshmen. Their goal is not to humiliate or to hurt, but to offer the freshmen a unique pathway into high school and adolescence.
    So what Jennifer Hall witnessed and reported is partial and superficial, and therefore neither illuminates nor instructs. She has made Ted Howard’s life more difficult because she has increased dramatically pressure he may feel to take decisive punitive action against students who do not deserve such action nor will benefit or “learn” from it.
    More sadly, Jennifer Hall’s post may damage the bonds of trust between Garfield students and the Garfield administration, and destroy the powerful ownership of their education that Garfield students have earned through the years. Teachers are shepherds of students. Jennifer Hall is not a good shepherd.

  • Jennifer October 3, 2011 (12:37 am)

    It has been interesting and informative to read the comments here. I appreciate the West Seattle Blog for providing a forum for a heathy, democratic debate on the subject of `froshing’. With any open discussion, there is going to be a certain amount sarcasm, rudeness, attempts to diminish the perceptions or views of others. That’s par for the course. As waterworld points out in an eloquent post, “[E]xpressions of personal opinion, particularly on issues of public concern, are protected speech.” I do not feel hurt or insulted or by the pro-froshing posts from obvious teenagers. Several are very well-written – a tribute to my Seattle Public Schools colleagues who taught these students to write!

    My intent in posting on Friday night, basically as fast as I could, was to relate an account of what I had seen, and my impressions related to it. My description of the scene including the white powder on the ground, the beer cans — the animal heart — was one-sentence long. It was what I saw. It was part of what spiked my adrenaline, along with the smell of alcohol, and with the presentation of some of the young people (including slightly slurred speech from more than one young man). I wasn’t particularly thrilled with hearing a male directing possibly underage females to, “Come hither. . .”, either.

    As a veteran of situations where unpleasant things have happened, I felt concerned by what I had walked into. As I stated in my post, I did not feel hostility coming from any of the young people. I didn’t have to summon courage, because I was not afraid of any of them. They seemed like “nice kids”. I thought that they were involved with something disturbing; that alcohol was involved; that there was an imbalance of power; that kids could end up getting hurt. I questioned the students, took some to task, and acted to protect a couple, out of force of habit. When most of the kids ran, I saw that as an awareness that they were doing something wrong. They were afraid of exposure. Two young men came back and attempted to round up the girls who were waiting with me. The girls had to tell them, “NO!” more than once. I saw this as an attempt at coercion. The boys were older than these girls. This was enough to raise my hackles.

    I called 911 because I felt the situation warranted it. The way I saw it, there was possible drunk driving about to occurr, and underage students in the cars. I have not had a lot of experience calling 911 recently, in these days of short-staffing and budget cuts. I did not press for an officer to be sent out. Perhaps I should have, but I did not. I do not fault the 911 operator for trying to triage emergency calls, and juggle limitted resources.

    I appreciate the comments of waterworld on the subject of `libel’. I was very interested, and a bit perturbed to read Dianna’s `inside information’ about the froshing. Dianna, part of growing up is coming to the realization that your actions have consequences. Other people, including your frosh-ees, and the adults who walk in on your activities, may see your actions differently than you do. Another part of becoming an adult is the development of empathy. As you become more empathetic, you begin to see yourself as others see you. At that point, you may want to reconsider your implied claim to future validictorian privilege. So, adults should just walk by and chuckle at you batting around a large animal heart “from an Asian market”? I should just have lowered my eyes and recognized your right to frosh with impunity? It doesn’t tend to happen that way, Dianna.

    Over the weekend, I talked with a couple Garfield teachers and parents. I heard, loud and clear, that Ted Howard, Garfield’s principal, has taken a firm stand against hazing. I will be contacting Principal Howard, and other members of the Garfield community. Thank you very much, waterworld, for quoting sections of the PTSA newsletter and the student handbook. It is not my intent to “get students suspended or expelled”. I have complete faith in the ability of Garfield’s administration, staff, and parents, to decide on an appropriate approach to dealing with this situation. Garfield is a superlative school. Students are lucky to go there. All schools have problems. School communities have to face their problems and move forward. The Garfield community will do that.

    Again, regarding my intent in intervening and later posting — I think more than one person suggested that the post was self-agrandizing – One of the great things about getting older is that I care a lot less about what people think or say about me, and my intentions. I try to have the courage of my convictions, and I am not afraid to speak out when I feel strongly about something. The thing I feel the most strongly about is wanting to see young people stay alive –with intellect and emotions intact. I want to see the next generation rebuild and participate in a democratic society. I want to help young people realize that the most important thing in life is not to subjugate others, but to live as equals.

    And with that I guess I’ll pop in my dentures, turn off the 700 Club for now, grab a can of ensure, leash up my dogs, and take another walk.

  • Kayleigh October 3, 2011 (8:13 am)

    The worst part of this to me (other than the animal heart, which is suspicious at best) is not that kids do stupid things. We all do stupid things when we’re kids. The worst part is that so many adults (though a minority in these comments) seem to have stopped their own emotional growth at age 14. No wonder America is so screwed up right now.
    Grow up, people. Seriously. High school for most of us is an age of stupid, shallow, cliqueish, emotion-based, conformist choices. Try and move beyond it and we’ll all be better off. Thanks to Jennifer and her dentures for acting like a grown-up. :)

  • KBear October 3, 2011 (9:23 am)

    “Don’t criticize what you can’t understand”
    Anyone else see the irony of quoting a nearly 50-year-old song in order to claim that the adults don’t understand what “froshing” is all about?

  • 35this35mph October 3, 2011 (9:42 am)

    Bravo Jennifer. I appreciate your good intentions, thoughtful actions and measured responses. Although you are clearly not in need of the validation of others, here it is anyway ;)

  • JoB October 3, 2011 (10:11 am)

    isn’t it time we stopped killing the messenger?
    Jennifer encountered something that made her distinctly uncomfortable.
    it had made one of the girls participating uncomfortable enough to call her mother.
    she called the police.
    she reported what she saw.
    The kids involved chose to take the freshman to an unfamiliar neighborhood to avoid detection
    they knew the consequences of their behavior
    they proved it by running and avoiding having their pictures taken
    yet we blame the woman who points out that kids were doing something they clearly knew was illegal in our parks because she told on them?
    what is wrong with this picture?
    as for those of us who support their derision by calling her and anyone who supports her old fuddy-duddys…
    those you call fuddy-duddy’s were kids once too
    could it be they learned something from their mistakes?
    what is missing here is the expectation of consequences
    I graduated from high school in 1967
    and even in those dark days at the beginning of the world as we know it
    we knew that if we got caught drinking and harassing young kids we were in deep deep trouble.
    the kind of trouble your dad couldn’t totally buy you out of
    the least that would happen is that the local police would drive us home with lights flashing so that every neighbor knew exactly what our parents had allowed their kids to do…
    and it mattered.
    we had far more to fear from our parents than from the legal system
    instead of apologizing for us and teaching us how to buy our way out of trouble…
    our parents confiscated far more than car keys
    now it seems everyone is entitled.
    It was all in good fun.
    no-one was really hurt.
    kids will be kids.
    but I have to ask…
    if it was all in good fun and everyone was having such a great time…
    why had one of the girls called her mom?
    and why were the older boys so insistent that she should come with them instead of waiting for her mom?
    isn’t it time that grown-ups started acting like grown-ups here?

  • higgins October 3, 2011 (10:45 am)

    Kids can and do get hurt in these kinds of situations, even if its not meant to be malicious. Ten years ago I was a high school freshman and a classmate was duct taped to a pole in the school parking lot. It was all fun and games until huge patches of skin had to be ripped off to get him free, leaving him bloody and in tears. After that, our school started a no tolerance policy against hazing. It worked, and I don’t think any of us were worse off by missing out on this “bonding experience”. So while it doesn’t sound like things got this bad last Friday, you never know when that line might be crossed.
    And when it comes time for me to start a family, I think I’ll move to a small town where the cops have nothing better to do than check up on rowdy teenagers.

  • GP October 3, 2011 (10:48 am)

    Cops should have been called, good-samaritan intervention probably warranted.

    However, as with any emergency-related incident the usual recommendation is to call 911 first, before doing anything yourself.

    Then, a responding police officer would have had more time before the kids knew they were busted by adult intervention, and a better chance at rounding up more hoodlums.

    If you believe “hazing” and “froshing” is a right of passage, then you should also believe that getting nabbed by the police for doing something stupid is as well.

  • mom who thinks you are overreacting October 3, 2011 (2:42 pm)

    From the WSHS website it appears Jennifer is a special ed teacher. Honestly, not all kids are as fragile as special ed students. Many participate in froshing voluntarily and consider it a rite of passage. My sons both were froshed as freshmen (despite their teacher/dad’s warnings, and mine, not to participate), and considered it fun and inclusive. No one was injured, bullied or humiliated. Now, if while proclaiming that you’re a teacher and without any proof that illegal activities were going on or that anyone was coerced, you’d published a photo of my child online with the insinuation that drugs, alcohol and sexual harassment were occurring, I’d file a complaint against you.

    As far as the 911 dispatch is concerned – again, do you live in Seattle? Do you honestly think we have the manpower to turn out a search party for possible drunk teens who may or may not be the drivers of cars you cannot describe, headed in any and all directions? That is a ludicrous expectation of SPD.

  • Del October 3, 2011 (2:55 pm)

    “I wasn’t particularly thrilled with hearing a male directing possibly underage females to, “Come hither. . .”, either. As a veteran of situations where unpleasant things have happened, I felt concerned by what I had walked into.”

    I’m sorry, what part of “come hither” is ominous, indicative of drugs, sexual harassment or victimization?

    “there was an imbalance of power; that kids could end up getting hurt.” “I acted to protect a couple (of girls), out of force of habit.
    Two young men came back and attempted to round up the girls who were waiting with me. The girls had to tell them, “NO!” more than once. I saw this as an attempt at coercion. The boys were older than these girls. This was enough to raise my hackles.”

    Honestly, this sounds like you’re projecting baggage from your own experiences as a female victim on to both the boys and the girls. Did it occur to you that the girl called her mother because she thought she was in trouble with an adult who’d just identified herself as a teacher? And that the boys might be coming back to get the girls because they are friends and they didn’t want to leave them stranded in West Seattle?

    Again your entire post reads like someone who, perhaps because you’ve been victimized yourself, assumed dark intentions (references to drugs, sexual harassment, coercion, girls needing to borrow clothes to cover up). Let me be clear – you are purposely painting a picture of kids who you state were polite to you, being at best bullies and at worst involved in sexual harassment, coercion or assault. As a Seattle Schools teacher, shame on you for not taking more time to edit what you wrote for bias based on personal baggage. Especially since you posted a photo. I agree that one should call the police if they believe they are witnessing a crime, but to slander these kids based on your biased assumptions, well shame on you.

  • me on 28th Ave SW October 3, 2011 (5:12 pm)

    For the record, I am a grown-up. I also have two high school/college aged children.
    I do believe the kids when they say they had designated drivers. I do not condone drinking before legal age, but accept that it does happen.
    I was impressed that the students used polite terms like “maam” and that they picked up their cans and litter, I would have expected much worse language and a pile of garbage if I’d intervened.
    I believe it when some of the girls made the statement that they were fine and were having fun.
    Regarding the 2 other girls that stayed behind, the feeling I have is this. When they realized that the cops had been called they had two choices; to run off with the group and risked getting into trouble with SPD or to stay behind (tails tucked) and “win over” the adult calling the cops. So of course they are going to say things like it was “creepy” at that point. Haven’t any of you ever caught your child doing something wrong as part of a group and then listen to them recant? By calling her mom for a ride home in the presence of Jennifer, she distanced herself from the rest of the group.
    If no cops had been called they probably would have left with the rest of them. I do not believe they were scared until word of the Popo spread. Teenagers can be wily and self-preservation is tops for them.
    Just my two cents.

  • madashell October 3, 2011 (5:21 pm)

    Holy crap! The extent some people will rationalize the immature and illegal behavior of youth. Yeah, I’m sure they didn’t inhale either.

    Ms. Hall you are to be lauded. 99% of others would not stop and question whether laws are being broken or young impressionable kids are in jeopardy.

    As a 4.00er myself back in the day…the kids who think they’re too smart to screw themselves and others, when you’re kicked out of college for hazing, I’m sure your parents in the retirement home will scurry in their electric scooters to your defense.

  • Anonymous October 3, 2011 (5:26 pm)

    I would like to suggest that those who are not involved and/or affected by this incident do not try to understand and judge it. Everyone making these accusations who is not involved, cannot understand. The real people whose opinions matter in this scenario are those who were froshed themselves. I think that if you took a completely anonymous poll of high school students that are involved in froshing, 95-100% would say they support it. If you are a parent of a child who has had a negative experience with froshing, then you should definitely speak out about it, but this is one of those situations where if you are not involved you really can’t understand. I have noticed several parents of high school students posting, and they all seem to think their child found froshing (both getting froshed and froshing other people) to be a positive experience. I think this is also the general attitude of high school students towards the issue. So, if the noise and mess the kids left negatively affected you, than feel free to rant about that, but you cannot form opinions about how these kids felt about being froshed without being involved.
    Also, I noticed that waterworld cited an incident of alcohol poisoning as a byproduct of froshing, but that is not necessarily true. High school froshing almost never involves forced drinking, and even sometimes discourages it. There are plenty of other scenarios leading to a high school student drinking too much and I think it is unfair to assume this had to do with froshing.

  • pjmanley October 3, 2011 (6:12 pm)

    When did it become so wrong for a person who sees something odd, bizarre, and possibly criminal going on to call the cops? Isn’t that what we are taught, and typically want? What would the comments read if she blew it off and somebody got hurt? “She’s a teacher, and she didn’t intervene? Fire her!” Aren’t we being a tad bit disingenuous here?

    Kids: If you go “froshing” in somebody else’s neighborhood, it just might look weird enough that people will call the cops. So next time, factor that in, geniuses.

  • pjmanley October 3, 2011 (6:43 pm)

    On a lighter note, I confess to laughing when I read: I asked what high school they were from. One of the boys said, “Roosevelt.” Classic how quickly the Bulldog threw the cross-town rival Roughriders under the bus. That young man deserves an honorable mention for quick thinking and loyalty.

  • Mary Ellen October 3, 2011 (7:03 pm)

    Thanks Jennifer for caring about those kids.

  • waterworld October 3, 2011 (7:27 pm)

    Anonymous: I think you’re probably right that nine out of ten students who engage in “froshing” like it. And nine out of ten teenagers who have sex like it, too. Is that the new standard for acceptable teenage behavior? The predominant risk of hazing rituals, identified in national surveys, is not that teenagers and young college students don’t like it (although many don’t), it’s that the “froshing” usually involves underage drinking, which is at least sometimes dangerous and always illegal. And kids who think that this kind of hazing in high school is fun and games are likely to be the ones who go on to college and participate in such rites of passage as “drinking until you pass out.”

  • louis October 3, 2011 (8:37 pm)

    I think everyone is blowing this way out of proportion. If anyone of the freshman kids felt like they were in danger or if they were truly getting bullied then they would not of ran off with their attackers. The younger girls I’m sure had already planned to get picked up from where they were. The lady who decided to write spend all of her night typing up a long, too detailed, report should not have wasted her time. I do not know what she is really expecting to get from all this drama. And I am sure if any one of those kids really did not support of their hazing rituals then they would have come forward by now and reported their abusers.

  • anonymous October 3, 2011 (8:50 pm)

    I know some of those freshmen and it’s not nearly as bad as Jennifer makes it sound. In some schools, it might be “bullying” but at GHS it actually IS a rite of passage. You would know better if you actually went there..

  • Reginald October 3, 2011 (9:04 pm)

    This is completely ridiculous. I’m a junior at Garfield, and while hazing can OCCASIONALLY be over the line, no one goes into it without knowing what will happen to them, and everyone knows that if you dont want to take part, that’s totally fine. There is no sexual assault as this lady implies. She clearly rushed into the situation and jumped to conclusions before she had the whole picture.

  • Jesus Christ October 3, 2011 (11:04 pm)

    I just cant believe that this has turned out to be a big deal. I am sure that all of you have had experiences with alcohol as teenagers and know that it is very common. Froshing in my opinion is not bulllying but simply the introduction to high school for the freshmen. The girl in the article was fine, so her friends must of been okay too. My point is that people need to find better things to do and not overreact on things like this.

  • Harpie October 4, 2011 (11:57 am)

    My high school, too, had a tradition of froshing. However, it had been banned shortly before my time, since the escalating antics were becoming serious safety hazards.

    I did experience it first hand, though, in the U.S. military. It took on many flavors: some mostly innocent, such as sending the new guy for a “yard of flight line;” some mildly painful, like having your rank “pinned on” my seniors; some downright dangerous. More often than not, we were not forced participants, but nor were we willing; we were complaisant ones. When the practice of “blood winging” came to light, I was grateful all such “rites of passage” were summarily banned for being “cruel, abusive, humiliating, or oppressive.” We grumbled about tradition then, too, but deep down, I’m willing to believe a lot of people felt the way I did. Esprit de Corps isn’t built at the expense of dignity and common sense.

    All that aside, though, I wanted to thank you, WSB and Jennifer, for sharing this story. It gave me an opportunity to talk to my 14-year-old, a freshman at a different local high school, about hazing in terms relational to him. We’ve read through student handbooks in the past, which delineate schools’ stances on bullying, hazing and such, but because of this we were able to have an honest, straight discussion with real-life examples.

  • Just a Parent October 4, 2011 (9:39 pm)

    It’s against the law. No matter how you sugar coat it, it’s against the law. No matter if you think its innocent fun or not, the law does not care. If a kid gets hurt, you’re going to pay the price. Just like anything else you do that’s against the law. Drinking, driving or not, is against the law under 21. You will probably not get in any kind of trouble associated with underage drinking in your lifetime. If you do it will most likely be because someone got hurt, by accident. If you engage in these activities realize the exposure you and your parents have. If my kid got crippled or hurt during your hazing ritual I’m going to sue you for everything you have and will have. So all you young, smart,” justifiers” out there who are trying to hide behind a twisting of words (it’s hazing no matter what you want to call it) think about how you are going to live after the accident you never thought would happen. From the sounds of your defenses I don’t think your taking any of this into consideration. Your nonchalant cavalier attitude towards breaking the law shows this. “It’s not like we were drinking and driving, we aren’t stupid” If you are going to mix alcohol with hazing your heading for trouble. Alcohol, as we all know, can encourage a person to do something they would not normally do. The gymnast who attempted a handstand on the railing above the Battery St. Tunnel comes to mind. No sober person would attempt that stunt. She surely never imagined something bad would happen to her, she died as a result. This is an extreme example of what alcohol can encourage a person to do. Unfortunately this example is not uncommon.
    Parents who allow and encourage hazing are the reason this law must exist. If you were a bit more responsible with your kids and encouraged them to do the right thing the state wouldn’t have to make hazing laws. Wise up and be sure you’re ready to lose all your possessions before you condone illegal activity. When we speed in our cars we don’t always think about the accident that may occur. I’ve seen the face of the speeder who killed someone they love. It’s not worth it. No amount of bonding is worth the life or well-being of a 14 year old person. If this is so important find a legal way to do it on school property sanctioned by the school. Join a club or something else that does not involve drinking in a park across town.

  • mike October 4, 2011 (10:15 pm)

    it being the law does not mean much, slavery used to be legal, and smoking and selling cigarettes is still legal, also this country still does the death penalty sooooo…..

  • w October 4, 2011 (11:08 pm)

    Hello all,
    As a current junior at Garfield, I will grant you an honest opinion on how I feel about this. I myself was never froshed freshmen year and because of that I truly did feel left out. Many of my friends had been. I was jealous of them at that time because they made new friends, cool upper classmen. To the older folks out there, don’t act like you never wanted to be one of the cool kids in highschool. Everyone does, it is simply a part of a phase, a part of development we all experience. I myself would likely had gone to frosh the freshmen had I not needed to attend practice right after school. But I will tell you this, the freshmen have always had a choice to say no from the beginning. Not any of them were “forced” and they all had a fair idea of what they were getting themselves into, we’ve all heard the stories. Of course, this is very illegal but as a teenager, I have drank and I have done dumb stuff from drinking. Those dumb things taught me my lesson and honestly, I don’t think I ever will again. Highschool is a time for learning. I smoked weed for the first time in highschool, and to be honest, I didn’t enjoy it. Generations change, to extents? I do not know because I am a first generation immigrant to the U.S. To any parent that scolds us, do not be a hypocrite because you yourself have done things in highschool that you knew was wrong.

  • Aman October 4, 2011 (11:15 pm)

    Is Garfield H.S. academically superior to the West Seattle High Schools?

    • WSB October 4, 2011 (11:52 pm)

      Aman, aside from anyone’s subjective opinion, the one fact is that Garfield is the school to which the students in the top-level gifted program in the Seattle Public Schools system, APP, are generally sent, so it has a higher percentage of academically gifted students than others in the district, and the most advanced course offerings. Some explanation on page 7 onward: http://ghs.seattleschools.org/documents/1112%20reg%20guide%20final_060311.pdf

  • basedgod October 5, 2011 (6:43 am)

    Jennifer, you clearly know nothing about this situation. You say that you don’t want anyone to get suspended or expelled. This proves how little you know about this scenario. Garfield has very strict anti-hazing policies and any student caught hazing is automatically suspended. What’s more with the media attention that this situation has received because of you and your need for attention the Garfield administration will probably have to take harsher measures than usual. Plus, because of the false accusations you made about sexual harassment, drunk driving, use of cocaine and whatever else, these teens could get in real legal trouble. So way to go Jennifer, you decided that these teens needed to be taught a lesson and because of that you could be about to ruin the bright futures of a group of great kids. Smooth

  • GenHillOne October 5, 2011 (6:56 am)

    @Just A Parent – yes, I wonder if those (or their parents, let’s ask them!) who think what happened Friday was okay would invite the whole event to take place on their private property. Would they open themselves up to that risk?

  • Aman October 5, 2011 (8:35 am)

    WSB: Thanks for the info. link on Garfield H.S.

    I’m impressed by the blog comments from the Garfield students & parents.

    Maybe we in West Seattle could learn from them and their experience?

  • Lura October 5, 2011 (10:21 am)

    Mike, you are comparing underage drinking and hazing to resisting slavery? Really?
    The logic of the pro-hazing side is getting more and more convoluted. And basedgod, trying to blame the negative consequences (if any), not on those who participated in the event, and committed or allowed illegal behavior, but on someone who merely observed the behavior taking place in public? lol.
    Quite a few posters apparently believe that underage drinking, hazing, etc, should be legal. Actually, one the great aspects of our country is that citizens can get involved in changing laws. If you really believe these activities should be legal, go ahead and lobby your representatives in Olympia to change these rules. Or start an initiative. Or even plan on running for office yourself.
    Actually, I’m serious on that. I don’t think you’ll get very far with a campaign to allow high-schoolers to drink in the parks, or a campaign to give special privileges to Garfield students, but I seriously CAN picture some future candidate being asked how/when they became interested in politics, and having the answer be that they started thinking about laws and their effects when they had participated in this particular bit of high school fun and realized that they were being talked about online.

  • Interrobang October 5, 2011 (10:28 am)

    First off, thanks to WSB for posting the story, and to Jennifer Hall for her intervention.

    I’m not even going to attempt to reason with the GHS children, and the pro-hazing folks in this forum to avoid a pointless flameing war, as obiously they lack basic cognitive awareness as to how dangerous this could have been.

    Fact of the matter is, if you participate in these activities and I see you, I’m calling the cops. End of story.

    This is my community and I won’t have a bunch of reckless children charading around that being drunk/high/whatever is some sort of rite of passage.

    When I went to HS, which wasn’t all too long ago, I remember the stigma of hazing, and that it leads to an escalation and people could get hurt and die (there were quite a few public cases at the time). Hazing, no matter how mild, held serious consequences for all parties involved and a zero tolerance policy was put in place.

    As a (proud) non-hazee/hazer I can’t speak to the catharsis or bonding experience – but I will say this, I had a lot of close friends and a lot of fun in high school. Key for me was being on dance, and a ton of clubs – I felt really close to my peers because of my choices. So, to any questioning if its something that has to be done – it doesn’t.

    To parents: make sure you know what your kids are doing. Thankfully 2 of the young ladies made the right decision in the end and Jennifer Hall was there to help them in their hour of need. However this won’t happen every time. While I hope there are more like Ms. Hall around, I wouldn’t count on it, and ultimately I’ll look at you, the parents, if/when this happens again.

  • Lfauntleroy October 5, 2011 (1:10 pm)

    So? Inquiring minds want to know??? Was anyone suspended from Garfield because of this Illegal froshing? And just for any of you pro froshing dads out there- I have a freshman daughter at a different SPS high school. If you found out that your 14 year old daughter was running around(even willingly) in a wet t-shirt with 1/2 drunk senior boys would you feel good about that? The way I first heard about this thread was when it was initially posted and my husband read it and insisted we used it as a talking point with our 14 yr daughter – the example wasn’t if you frosh you will be suspended. It was, if you find yourself in an uncomfortable or dangerous situation you should/could take a way out if it’s available. That is what Jennifer offered. Even if those girls were just blowing smoke and trying to avoid trouble by staying and calling their moms. They had a choice and they decided to take the way out. My husband rarely gets worked up and usually feels kids will be kids and hopefully nobody gets hurt. But this struck him differently- thinking about his little girl in a situation with boys who were “just being boys.” Im sorry, it’s not on my list of ways I want her bonding with the cool kids.

  • todd olson October 5, 2011 (2:44 pm)

    That was a really boring story. this lady should’ve mined her own space, not theres. Its called freedom. …. Dear lady , people dont pay the ultimate price in war so you can pop up from behind the trees with your morality shaft.

  • GHS Parent October 5, 2011 (5:27 pm)

    Froshing happens at Garfield at least twice a year in conjunction with Purple & White Days, aka “spirit week.” In the spring, spirit week runs from June 11th to June 15th. Many Garfield families will thank you, Jennifer Hall and Tracy Record, for keeping an extra eye out that week, especially Friday, June 15th.

  • GHSsophomore October 5, 2011 (7:39 pm)

    I am, as my name suggests, a sophomore at garfield. Many adult readers of this will immediately discount my opinion, but I will say my piece anyway. My freshman year, my parents repeatedly told me that i was to come right home after school on purple and white days, as did many of my teachers. At homecoming, i did as they told me, and went home right after school. My parents lauded me for this decision, and i felt fairly good about it at the time.

    However, my feelings plummeted the following week, when most of my friends and classmates told their “horror” stories about their froshing. No one was hurt in any lasting way, and i, at least, heard nothing about any forced pr truly unwanted froshing. Au contraire, i was bombarded with tale after tale of rip-roaringly good times had by all. Many of my fellow freshman had no alcohol what so ever involved with their froshing, and the few who had consumed alcoholic beverages were kept on a tight, protective reign by the upperclassmen that they were with. I felt completely left out of an integral part of my high school culture, and I cursed my self for having avoided the froshing experience. When purple and white came around at the end of school, i embraced my 2nd chance to get froshed with everyone else.

    For my froshing, I, and about 7 other freshmen guys, were taken to a secluded area in a park. After a few hour had passed, we emerged covered in condiments and white powder (flour), a little sore, and extremely content with the way wed spent our afternoons. The next week i too had stories to tell my schoolmates about my “legendary” purple and white experience. Also, I forged several lasting relationships with upperclassmen that I can assuredly say have turned out very positively since then. Finally, I felt fully integrated into the Garfield experience, a way I hadn’t really felt before i got froshed. There is no way i would avoid my froshing, even if i had the ability.

    So what’s the point? I know parents are very concerned about their children being hazed, and I understand. If I had spent years of my life caring for someone, I would never want them put even slightly in harms way. But thats the thing, froshing isn’t at all like hazing that goes on in college. Froshing is a much more friendly experience, more of a gentle reminder as to who is on top in the garfield hierarchy, and a welcoming to the school. For 90% or more of freshmen that get froshed, it is a relationship building experience that both helps them get to know their classmates as well as the upperclassmen with whom they will be sharing a school for the next few years. If parents were less judgmental about the whole idea, and talked with their kids openly, they might understand better what is going on.

    Finally, a few of my thoughts: about this article and other peoples posts, and just the subject in general

    -While many teachers condemn froshing, the ones who really stand out in my mind as good teachers mostly coincide with the ones who had more of a don’t ask, don’t tell policy about froshing

    -I do think that Ms. Jennifer’s actions are justifiable, though, they are not the ones i would have taken; it is completely reasonable to call the police if you see something you believe is illegal: it is up to the police to decide if the matter warrants their attention.

    -That said, I strongly disagree with the posting of this article online, and especially with the posting of the photo. This could lead to he harassment of minors who may or may not have had any criminal intent or criminal behaviors, and, as said repeatedly in the above comments, could constitute libel.

    -This article is very based upon opinion and circumstance,
    and uses very many sensationalist techniques and a lot of hearsay. If i did not see Ms. Jennifer’s comments, i might speculate that it was meant to garner praise, not to inform the west seattle community about the incident in question.

    -Froshing is VERY different from other instances of hazing; it is rarely meant to humiliate the recipients, and is much more friendly and oriented towards the development of cross-grade friendships.

    -Some of the examples of harmful froshing used above are
    not nearly as dangerous as they sound. Specifically, while it is true that some freshman are asked to jump off of the 520 bridge, the location at which this happens is a closed of section of the bridge that doesn’t connect to any through traffic, and is at most 25 feet above water which is at least 20 ft deep. I have jumped off this part of the bridge in the summer just for fun, and to cool down in lake washington.

    Tl;Dr, I believe that what Jennifer did at the incident in question deserves neither to be condemned nor commended. I do however, believe that this article seems to have been written in a hurry and poorly edited for opinionated statements and libelous claims. It is true that Froshing can be harmful, but is rarely, if ever, as dangerous and offensive as it is described; on the contrary, it is usually a positive experience that will be remembered fondly in later years.

  • Paul October 5, 2011 (7:57 pm)

    After reading this teacher’s account, it’s quite clear to me that her spring is wound a little too tight.

    Also, it’s “liable”, not libel. Just sayin’

  • Basedgod October 5, 2011 (9:57 pm)

    I have talked with people who were present in this situation and i now know that anyone who agrees with Jennifer in this situation clearly knows nothing about either what happened or froshing in general. I noticed that someone mentioned the girls having “wet t-shirts” i’m not sure where that came from becasue there were no freshmen girls in wet t-shirts and i’m pretty sure that the article doesn’t say anything about any wet t-shirts even. There was no sexual intention in the actions of the boys. Jennifer refers to the boys as “young men” or “older upperclassmen boys” when in the context of sexual harassment and the girls as “underage girls” this makes is sound like the boys are may older than the girls when in actuality they are probably 2 or 3 years older. Also jennifer; when talking about the boys drinking refers to them as “minors” and “underage drinkers”. she chooses to change the assumed age of the boys to better suit her different accusations.

  • Basedgod October 5, 2011 (10:07 pm)

    What’s more, Jennifer did not save any kids. At no point during this incident was anyone in any danger. The freshmen could say that they did not feel comfortable with anything during the course of the hazing and the upperclassmen were willing to not do it. many people say that its hard for these girls to stand up for themselves when having the pressure of the “upperclassmen young men” on them. but if standing up for yourself is as easy as saying “no” and you cant even do it, you dont even deserve to be stoop up for. if the boys were forcing the girls into doing what they say it would be different and i would be on Jennifer’s side but as in all Garfield froshing situations, the upperclassmen dont want to do anything the freshmen aren’t okay with

  • shfy 1 October 6, 2011 (12:34 pm)

    from beasedgod “but if standing up for yourself is as easy as saying “no” and you cant even do it, you dont even deserve to be stoop up for.”

    i have been biting my tongue for days, but that is a terrifying statement.

  • Cait October 6, 2011 (12:48 pm)

    EVERYONE needs to chill here. First of all, full disclosure: I am a 2004 graduate of WSHS. Was neither a frosher or a froshee but had many friends in my classes; never really crossed my mind to do it.

    First of all, if two of the girls there were scared enough to call their parents, one of the froshers didn’t understand when enough was enough. Just like you shouldn’t blindly assume that everyone concerned is just an old coot, you cannot assume that every instance of froshing and those participating are always the same. These people may have gone too far, or were not being perceptive enough to the fact that the girls were uncomfortable. That’s a failing on their part, but they do not represent all people that do it.

    Second – hazing has been going on for years and it is NOT bullying when done in a semi-controlled environment. If everyone is willing and everyone had fun, leave the kids alone. However, the teacher here was right. She sensed that something was amiss (and it was if those girls were unwilling) and approached them to stop. You had better believe that if more line-over-stepping happens that they will crack down on this hard.

    So maybe what needs to be taught is actual human decency, not just “don’t haze people”. Sure, if they want to participate, let them. If it’s a tradition, it’s a tradition. (Yeah some of the stuff done here may have been illegal but it’s been going on for years and it is no secret to police, staff or children – ie, painting Charlestown, TPing the school, etc) BUT. If you these kids were taught to be kind to others they would have noticed these girls were uncomfortable. And if you teach your children self respect, they’ll be able to say no themselves.

    It’s not all black and white folks. Is hazing stupid? Yes. But it’s not like adults don’t do dumb crap too and it’s not as if they didn’t participate in equally ridiculous stuff at this age. Crabbing about it will create a further rift between you and your children that will make them not want to come to you if there ever is a problem. Talk to your kids about hazing, set limits, TEACH SELF RESPECT AND RESPECT OF OTHERS, and no one will get hurt doing things like this. They can just continue to do it safely. Period.

  • Cait October 6, 2011 (12:49 pm)

    And I think was beasedgod is saying that if you don’t stick up for yourself, no one will KNOW to do it for you. Right, BG?

  • Cait October 6, 2011 (12:53 pm)

    And another thing – to all the GHS kids clearly rallying the troops to post here, it won’t do any good. Go have your fun, be relatively smart about it and let the fire die down on it’s own. Point of order: West Seattle is a pretty tight knit and aware community, so… just be careful where, when and how you go about this stuff.

  • ws October 6, 2011 (1:00 pm)

    shfy 1 i agree, very terrifying along with several others. i love the justification posts that state for 90% its a relationship building, rarely meant to humiliate the recipients etc… that alone should tell the post writers that its not a good experience for everyone.

  • Lily Dunly October 6, 2011 (6:20 pm)

    Jennifer, you are ridiculous over-protective parent and obviously lied or exxagerated the situation. I am a parent who knows the family of one of the girls involved, and this story does not match up to what they described. ps white powder is obviously flour not cocaine. The police didnt overreact because there isnt that much they can do about these situations. Partying and froshing can be awful especially for boys, but from the students I have talked to it is fun and people try to do it and be safe.

  • Interrobang October 7, 2011 (2:33 pm)

    @ Lily Dunly and others who agree – thats fine. Do it in your house. In the presence of your parents. Not in my parks, in my community.

    This isn’t rocket science. If you want to participate in “hazing” or methods of froshing not supported by the schooling system (which, is what some schools provide) don’t do it where you’re putting other’s in danger.

    It’s really cute to think that the upperclassmen had a sort of “control” over the alcohol being distibuted, but it’s a false sense of security.

    Your drinking and driving can have lifelong consequences, and doing it in my community is definitely not okay – not that I find it acceptable in other areas, but it’s where I live.

    And to those of you trying to “shame” Jennifer for watching out for her community, for other’s children, realize that she’s not alone in her feelings.

    Parents who are defending the hazing – cool, go buy them a couple of handles, and let them have at it at your house. Sound like a bad idea? probably is.

    The “experience” for the participants in this case is totally irrelivant IMHO, and only serves as a distraction from the actual dangerous crap that’s going on. I could care less if all that’s going on is a bit of ketchup/mustard/flour, but animal hearts? Really? Why? Don’t leave that crap in my parks. And is sober hazing just not as cool? Do you bond better driving home after being hammered/buzzed?

    Don’t be an idiot, and it won’t be a problem. Simple advice enough, I hope.

  • Aman October 7, 2011 (10:53 pm)

    This thread has had a “good run.”
    How ’bout them Seahawks!

  • Anonymous October 15, 2011 (9:34 pm)

    Personally, I think that Jennifer has made too many assumptions in her accusation to hold much credibility. Froshing, in general is a positive experience, but yes, occasionally can get out of control. However, I don’t think this froshing seems as though it was out of control. The majority of froshings are positive experiences, and even if they weren’t at the time, as the students get older their experiences become ones to laugh on. The fact of the matter is, is that it is a tradition, and whether adults or parents disagree with it, it will continue. So instead of preaching no froshing, and praising Jennifer for publicly shaming kids who were only doing what they had done to them, people should instead stop reprimanding harmless froshings and instead focus on ones that could be endangering someone’s life. Although I refuse to commend Jeniffer for her actions, I find them understandable to a degree. However, what I will condemn her for, is this article. I don’t think this is the proper way to draw attention to something that she finds concerning. I simply find this article, and many people’s comments to be repulsive. Jennifer, through this article, in a sense, is publicly shaming these students, which is not a way to combat innappropriate actions. Being publicly humiliated like this, which I have experience with, leads to absolutely nothing except resentment, and leads nowhere close to stopping. In respect to the SPD, I do agree that with the population of this city they had more pressing matters than this at this time. These were unwarrented claims, and not at the top of the pecking order. I agree with the dispatcher, in terms of not feeling the need to respond to this claim immediately.

Sorry, comment time is over.