Garfield H.S. hazing victim's mother speaks

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by JOHN LANGELER / KING 5 News

Bio | Email | Follow: @jlangelerKING5

KING5.com

Posted on October 1, 2013 at 10:01 PM

Updated Tuesday, Oct 1 at 10:21 PM

SEATTLE -- Seattle Police and Seattle Public Schools said Tuesday they are investigating a hazing incident that took place last Friday evening at the Washington Park Arboretum. 

At least 100 students took part, according to Garfield High School Principal Ted Howard, who first found the event.

In a letter sent to parents, Howard said he witnessed students "participating in hazing incidents, drinking hard alcohol and beer," adding, "Students were being paddled, had on diapers, eggs were being thrown...and shoe polish was all over their body."

Howard said as he and a School Resource Officer approached, students scrambled, one calling the principal a derogatory name.

The mother of one of the students who was hazed told KING 5 Tuesday night, "My son lost his innocence" Friday night.

She asked to remain anonymous, but described how her son was pulled from the Garfield High cafeteria as school was ending, put into a van with other drinking students, taken to a stranger's house for more drinking, driven to the arboretum and finally ended up at the evening's homecoming football game.

That's where, she said, her husband was called and told their 14-year-old son was sick. When he got home, the mother recalled her son smelled of vomit, had had an egg cracked on his head and complained he "had no control."

"I was relieved to know he was home and safe with us," she said, fighting back tears. "You start to think about all the things that could have gone wrong. He's the most precious thing in my life. In our lives.  To think that he was endangered for some other people's amusement...it's just mind boggling."

Other parents and students who spoke to KING 5 indicated the hazing was part of homecoming week, and that it has been a diminishing tradition among freshman and seniors.

District officials and parents said it seemed like the dangerous ritual was going away.  Now, serious questions are being asked about how to ensure it does not happen again.

The mother of one of the hazing victim's said the only solution is to remove the "catalyst".

"You can do everything right, parent the way you're supposed to," she said, "You can still have the rug pulled out from under you."

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