No more pushing, no more hooks, no more mean girls' dirty looks.
The president of the Millburn Board of Education promised more than four dozen parents last night that district administrators would have to undertake sensitivity training and devise a plan within the next 60 days to combat hazing at Millburn High School.
Hazing at New Jersey's top-ranked high school has been a longstanding problem -- and the 2009-10 school year began with a fresh round of torment for ninth-grade girls.
On the first day of school, seniors distributed their annual "slut" list, defaming incoming freshmen girls to hundreds of students -- a cruel practice that school officials admit they've known has existed for more than a decade, reports The New York Times.
Parents called the school to report their freshmen daughters were shoved into lockers, forced to wear camouflage shirts and had whistles blown in their faces by senior girls -- hazing that had many of the children terrified to go to school the next day, or ever again.
“This is not acceptable behavior; it will not be tolerated,” Board President Noreen Brunini said of the most recent hazing, reports the Times. “This is the end of this.”
While school officials have suspended a few senior girls over the years for disseminating the list, this year's distributors went undiscovered and unpunished. Principal William Miron said administrators took steps to combat bullying before the year began, but said at the three-hour meeting last night, "Obviously we need to do more," reports the Times.
Bill Kelly, a father of seven, strongly agreed.
“The fact of the matter is, you guys have failed yourselves as board members, you’ve failed us as taxpayers and you’ve failed our kids by not protecting them, which is part of your job,” he said.
One student blamed the hazing hype on parents' overreaction.
"Hazing has always been a tradition at Millburn," the senior student, who was not identified, told the Times as she was driven away from school last week. "It's never really a personal attack. As a freshman you get pushed on the first day, and it reinforced the fact that they're seniors."