Burk HS Investigates Hazing

Burk HS Investigates Hazing

Burkburnett High School Principal Brad Owen is investigating reports of a "hazing incident" that happened off school property.

"Some of our high school students took some middle school students to a private residence out of city limits and subjected them to both mental and physical hazing," said Owen.

Even though the incident happened off school property, the student handbook specifically prohibits hazing "on or off the (school) campus".

"Hazing events are not to be tolerated, they're not legal in any way, shape or form, no initiation of any type. So that is the policy we will live by," said Owen.

Owen is meeting with students and some parents to get the full story. He said students will be punished at school for the hazing, but punishment will be decided for each student on a case by case basis.

Parents who said their kids were "victims" of the hazing reached out to us and said they were completely aware of what happened. In fact, both parents said they were told about the "initiation" two weeks in advance and gave their kids permission to go.

Lindsay Davis-Booze said her son was allowed to attend the initiation, but she " specifically told them to not physically touch my son and they did not."

Amanda D'Onofrio said her daughters were involved and they tell her for the girls it was "pure, innocent fun and not one of the girls did anything wrong nor were they hurt in any way."

Both parents said their kids told them that only some of the boys were paddled, and those that were, "kept asking for more."

A 2011 graduate from Burkburnett High School said she was initiated as an incoming freshman too and it was a fun event. "It wasn't bad, it wasn't humiliating or anything. They just pretty much put us in our place." However, she still believes a line may have been crossed in this incident. "If you're in harm and you even get bruises, I think that's way too far," she said. "It should be fun and it should be something you remember, but not getting beat."

Principal Owen said school administrators did warn the high school students against doing any sort of initiation with the middle schoolers. Also, when he was the middle school principal (this is his first year at the high school), the 8th graders were also warned and extra police officers were stationed at the middle school on the last days of school.

A call to current Burkburnett Middle School Principal Scott Slater to ask if these measures were in place this school year, was unanswered by Thursday evening.

Christina Myers