Juneau school district announces 7 seniors will be disciplined for hazing freshman with paddle
August 29, 2014
JUNEAU, Alaska — Seven high school seniors in Juneau will be disciplined for hazing incoming freshman last May.
Superintendent Mark Miller at a news conference Wednesday announced the results of a school-district investigation led by a private Anchorage lawyer, John Sedor, who was hired to investigate.
The upperclassmen used a paddle to beat six freshmen, the Juneau Empire reported.
The school district will not release names of the seniors or their punishments because the district has a legal obligation to keep student names and discipline consequences confidential, Miller said.
The range of punishments fall under consequences for bullying and can include a penalty as severe as expulsion, he said.
Students from all three Juneau high schools were involved in the incident. Four of the seniors are on sports teams.
This year wasn't the first during which the initiation occurred, and Miller said the tradition dates back decades. But the district will not go back to investigate previous incidents, and Miller said the investigation is closed.
Juneau police ended an investigation into the paddling incident when victims would not testify. The district will not share its results with police.
"Our findings are school-related and are attorney-client privileged, so at this time they will remain only with the school district," Miller said in an email to the Empire.
As a result of the findings, the school board is considering revising its hazing and bullying practices, President Sally Saddler said.
At this point, she isn't sure what might change, but Sedor is reviewing district policies and will give the board recommendations, she said.
"Any time there's a major incident, it's prudent for us to review our policies," Saddler said.
Miller said beyond policy changes, he wants the practice of hazing to end. His intent is to implement anti-bullying curriculum or training, but he said details would have to be worked out.
"While student accountability is important, taking steps to ensure that this type of behavior is never repeated is even more important," he said at the news conference.