Mon, Jan. 27

A mark of the future<br>Three students suspended for hazing at Mingus<br>

She had a friend write big and in color the word "Frosh" on her forearm.

"At least if they come up to me with a marker I can show them I've already been marked," said a Mingus freshman during Thursday's lunch hour.

This week three male students have been suspended for violating the school's hazing policy, said Principal Hal Alford.

One victim reportedly sustained a concussion when she fell after resisting an upper classman's efforts to write 'Frosh' in permanent marker on her forehead.

"The girl didn’t want to be written on," explained Alford. "She struggled, fell and hit her head."

Although freshman initiation is nothing new, the Hazing Prevention Policy approved in April by Governor Jane Hall makes it clear, enough is enough.

The law describes 'Hazing' as any act that "contributes to a substantial risk of potential injury, mental harm or degradation or causes physical injury, mental harm or personal degradation. It includes any intentional knowing or reckless act committed by a student, whether individually or in concert with other persons, against another student…"

To some students it's just life et al.

"It's no big deal," said one sophomore who said he was trash-canned his freshman year.

And the young girl agreed. That's why she asked her friend to create a decorative version, not out of intimidation but out of fun.

Alford disagrees: "How does it feel to a parent when they send their child to high school and their kids come home written all over?" he asks. "School shouldn't be a place that kids are afraid to go, a place where they fear that things are going to be done to them."

According to Alford, all three incidents occurred off campus during lunch hour.

As a result, he asked that the Mingus School Resource Officer have a high profile at the nearby shopping district and fast food outlets.

"We're sending the signal out that we don't approve," said Alford. "We're taking a hard-line stance as far as discipline."

Students and others may report hazing to any professional staff member or administrator. Complaint forms may be acquired from the administrative office at Mingus Union High School. Those in violation of the school's hazing policy are subject to a five-day suspension. If an injury is sustained from a hazing incident, students are subject to a 10-day suspension.

To some parents, that's not enough. According to Alford, the female student recently injured is scheduled to make a formal complaint with local law enforcement officials against her alleged "hazer."

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