On September 25th, 2015, five members of the Swampscott High School Varsity Football Team were involved in a hazing incident in front of the whole football team. According to an article on Boston.com, the five naked players were found performing “a variety of exercises and athletic drills while the other team members stood around shouting.” This has been a tradition for the football team for several years; the “tradition” is now called the Sophomore 50. As a result of this incident happening, the Swampscott High School Football Team was forced to forfeit their next two games in response to the Superintendent’s request.

So what’s Ipswich High Schools input on this incident? When interviewing Mr. Tom Gallagher, the head of the sports department, he said “The penalties are never too stiff; it’s never okay to be involved in a hazing incident, especially here at IHS.” With little to no hazing incidents ever happening here since his arrival, he says “the sports department is taking strides to make students recognize the policy and awareness of a hazing incident, telling students to immediately report incidents to any staff member here at IHS.” Hazing is not something you want to be a part of.   The penalties can go from being suspended at school, to getting federal agencies involved. This all depends on how bad the incident may be.

In the Ipswich High School’s policy manual, the term “hazing” is considered: whipping, beating, branding, forced calisthenics, exposure to weather, forced consumption of any food, liquor, beverage, drug or other substance, any other brutal treatment or forced physical activity which is likely to adversely affect the physical health, safety of any such student or other person, or which subjects such student or other person to extreme mental stress, including extended deprivation of sleep, rest, or extended isolation.

Aside from Mr.Gallagher’s perspective on hazing, sophomore Haley Williams gave her intake on the issue, and it was a different opinion due to the fact that she has been involved in sports teams here for two years. Being a member of the Varsity Cheerleading team, she states “that as a freshman on the team last year, I didn’t talk nearly as much as I would now because I feelt uncomfortable and a little intimidated by the upperclassmen.” Haley also mentioned that she has never witnessed or heard of any hazing incidents happening at our school.

As part of the cheerleading team for the past four years, I can attest that there have never been any incidents on the team. Hazing in sports is well-known in schools, but knowing that the Ipswich High School has never had any incidents is a very good thing.

Even though these incidents don’t occur here, they do occur at other schools and it is important for everyone to understand what hazing is and the consequences that you have to face when being caught hazing. Hazing is a serious event, and it is important for every student to understand the complex parts of hazing.