DONALDSONVILLE, La. (BRPROUD)– Ascension Catholic High School is under investigation by the Ascension Parish Sheriff’s Office for alleged hazing on its football team. It’s something that is becoming more and more prevalent in schools and universities.
It’s sparking conversations about hazing in schools.
Dillard University President Dr. Walter Kimbrough said hazing can happen at any age.
“Nearly half of college students come to college having experienced hazing, and I think one of the flaws of what we’ve been doing is that we’re not spending enough time talking about hazing, particularly with middle school kids. I mean, this hazing and his cousin bullying are all there together, and we’re not talking about that explicitly,” said Dr. Kimbrough.
He mentioned there is a lack of education about hazing in lower grades.
“So middle school and high school kids are already predisposed to accept it when they come to college. And I think that’s a failure that we haven’t had strong partnerships with K through twelve organizations and superintendents and athletic associations.”
He said this behavior is common in athletics, but often goes unreported.
“I think the challenge for most people is that with hazing, the chances of getting caught in something bad really happening are low, so people just look at, you know, your risk reward benefit and you’re just like, I think we can get away with it, which most of the time they’re right. But when something bad happens normally is really bad,” said Dr. Kimbrough.
Peer pressure, Tik Tok challenges, bullying and hazing all fuel these problems.
“A lot of the high school hazing is really a little bit more sadistic, it’s, I mean, is there isn’t really like they’re trying to build teamwork is like usually picking on somebody that a lot of times goes way too far,” said
Family medicine Dr. Rachael Kermis said parents should monitor their child’s behavior
“A lot of times we can see them sometimes become more withdrawn or they can be more on edge with stuff kind of snapping back to their patient parents more than they had been doing before. We can see their grades go down because they’re just not motivated,” she explained.
She has work with children in every stages of life.
“I have the opportunity to see all ages along that spectrum. And when I start seeing kids in elementary school, middle school, high school, I start talking a little bit more about how they’re doing with the social scene. When we actually get into middle school high school, I actually have parents step out of the room and try to talk to them one on one and build that rapport so I can get a sense of do they feel safe at school?” Dr. Kermis said.
She said open communication is important.
“We want to support them in the fact that they’re trusting us enough to open up about it. We want to help kind of create the path going forward that can minimize that and kind of make us as successful as possible,” she said.
We reached out to the Diocese of Baton Rouge about the investigation at Ascension Catholic Highs.
They said in a statement:
“The Catholic Schools Office of the Diocese of Baton Rouge does not comment on disciplinary matters involving students of its member institutions.”