Jennie Runevitch/Eyewitness News
Indianapolis - New pictures tell the story of an alleged hazing incident concerning cheerleaders from Lawrence North high school. Eyewitness News partners at The Indianapolis Star first reported that six girls are now sidelined from the squad for at least a year.
The school's assistant superintendent says snapshots show them abusing freshman girls during an initiation. The alleged hazing included girls smothering other girls with food and drenching them with a water hose.
In a separate case, Center Grove freshman football players are under investigation for bullying a teammate in the boys locker room last Thursday. Police say the players assaulted him with a two-foot metal pole.
Center Grove has suspended one freshman for five games and another from the team entirely. Now, there's another athletic problem for the Trojans involving cheerleaders. It happened at a summer cheer camp at Indiana University. Center Grove's principal says several varsity cheerleaders vandalized university property and property belonging to a younger cheerleader.
School leaders call it "disrespectful behavior," not hazing. But the school sidelined several varsity squad members with game suspensions, and ordered them to perform community service.
Franklin college professor, Hank Nuwer says hazing has become more common in high schools, and with girls. "Definitely in the last few years we're seeing more incidents posted than ever seen before,' he said. "The Hazing's looked at as either harmless fun or a sort-of initiation prank nobody wants to miss."
But Nuwer says what seems harmless often escalates into harassment, and hazing. "It's more disturbing in one way, yes, but at the other side maybe it's an opportunity to do more education and try to educate students and get parents involved along with administrators."
Center Grove's principal won't call the cheerleaders' behavior hazing. But he says coaches will review the school's hazing and bullying policy with student athletes. Also, the cheerleaders may not be allowed to attend cheer camps in the future.
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