Hazed Teen Should Seek Counseling
Dear Annie: My grandson was the victim of hazing incidents in the locker room at his private school. It went on for more than a month. Someone made videos of parts of it, and the entire school saw the videos.
The perpetrator was asked to withdraw from his school (not expelled). The detective who investigated told my daughter that he had never dealt with a school so tight-lipped about such an incident. The athletic director apologized to my grandson, but not the coach or the school principal.
The school chaplain talked to my grandson in a short one-on-one session. No one talked to the team members who witnessed it or to their parents.
I'm wondering what the protocol would be for something like this in public schools. This happened over a year ago, and recently my grandson said he still thinks about it every day. Do you think we should pursue counseling for him? He's 15 and a sophomore. He still wrestles and does not want to quit. -- Concerned Grandma
Dear Concerned: The public school protocols vary from state to state, but this private school gets an F for handling a difficult situation. It was cowardly for the coach and principal not to talk to your son about it.
Hazing is never something to be taken lightly and has sadly resulted in death in some cases. It has been proven that it does not build a team up; in fact, it does the opposite by creating an atmosphere of fear and disrespectful conduct. A great article comes from https://www.ncaa.org/sports/2016/9/26/addressing-student-athlete-hazing.aspx, which addresses more college hazing but has some great data points.
As far as no one speaking with the team that witnessed the hazing or the other parents, that is surprising. It could be a great learning lesson for all involved -- not to punish the kid who hazed but to use a terrible situation as an opportunity to educate the kids about the dangers of hazing. Good for your grandson that he still wants to wrestle and he has resilience.
It is troubling that he thinks about it every day. He could be suffering from PTSD after going through a traumatic event. Seeking the help of a trained counselor could certainly benefit him to process what happened. I would also say that the boy who did the hazing needs to see a counselor as well. Hurt people hurt people, and he clearly has some violent issues to work through.
Dear Annie: I have recently read letters in your column from grieving pet owners. Losing a pet is almost like losing a family member. I wrote a short poem about the loss of my 14-year-old cat that I hope you will share with grieving readers who may also have these feelings.
"At a Loss" by Peggy Ankerman