Auburn High Arrests

By: Erica Hurtt
By: Erica Hurtt

Rockford police have charged two Auburn High students with mob action, and battery for taking part in what they called, "freshman beat-up day." But is it a serious problem, or just high school hazing?

Terence Gatlin and Marcus McCullough told police they held and punched a 15-year-old student in the hallway of Auburn High School on Wednesday because it was freshmen beat-up day. Fights at school are nothing new, and some say neither is freshman beat-up day.

"I've heard about freshmen beat-up day from my kids,” says parent Karen Marshall.
"It's generally either the first day of school of the last day of school,” comments junior Joe McCoy.

Freshmen beat-up day, fact or folklore? School officials, students and parents have all heard of it, and many are even afraid.
"My daughter was afraid to get on the bus because she thought she'd get beat-up,” says Marshall.

Many say fear is exactly the goal of freshman beat-up day and it rarely ends in violence.

"It's more just a joke,” says McCoy.

"It's the first time I’ve seen freshman beat-up day end in violence. Usually I hear it's freshman beat-up day and I just talk to the class about how stupid that is,” says Special Ed teacher Jennifer Macek.

Macek works with students who have trouble with anger management. She says the school takes violence and hazing very seriously.

"Yeah we've got a great team here to deal with those situations and it happens quickly and appropriately and I think they take it very seriously,” adds Macek.

The students arrested Wednesday have been released on a $1,000 bond and were suspended from school.

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Hazing

  • Hazing is defined as "Any action taken or situation created, intentionally, whether on or off fraternity premises, to produce mental or physical discomfort, embarrassment, harassment, or ridicule.” - - Fraternity Insurance Purchasing Group

    Types of Hazing

    • Subtle Hazing - Actions that are against accepted sorority or fraternity standards of conduct, behavior and good tastes. An activity or attitude directed toward a pledge or an act which ridicules, humiliates or embarrasses.

    • - Harassment Hazing - Anything that causes mental anguish or physical discomfort to the pledge. Any activity or activity directed toward a pledge or activity which confuses, frustrates or causes undue stress.

      Myths & Facts

    • Myth: Hazing is a problem for fraternities and sororities primarily.
      Fact: Hazing is a societal problem. Hazing incidents have been frequently documented in the military, athletic teams, marching bands, religious cults, professional schools and other types of clubs and/or, organizations. Reports of hazing activities in high schools are on the rise.

    • Myth: Hazing is no more than foolish pranks that sometimes go awry.
      Fact: Hazing is an act of power and control over others --- it is victimization. Hazing is pre-meditated and not accidental. Hazing is abusive, degrading and can be life-threatening.

    • Myth: If someone agrees to participate in an activity, it can't be considered hazing.
      Fact: In states that have laws against hazing consent of the victim can't be used as a defense in a civil suit.

      Source: http://www.stophazing.org contributed to this report.


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