Team bonding or hazing?


Photo By Emily Wang

Toilet papering houses is used as a form of initiation for some sports teams.

By Emily Wang, Circulation Manager

Hazing is most commonly associated with fraternities, but do CHS sports teams haze?

“Hazing is the same thing as bullying or being abusive, often associated with initiation on athletic teams,” Principal Joan Benz said.

CHS currently has no policy regarding hazing. However, MCPS does. Every athlete must sign a student athlete participation form which states, “hazing is prohibited at all times… [and] may lead to immediate dismissal from a team.”

There have been mixed opinions from students as to whether there is a hazing culture at CHS, and some believe hazing is harmless.

“I have noticed many different forms of hazing across the different sports at CHS,” swimmer Colton Neubauer said. “I believe the ‘hazing’ is more for fun than to embarrass the athlete.”

Others think hazing is a virtually nonexistent part of the CHS sports culture.

According to sophomore junior varsity volleyball player Allison Lu, she has not seen hazing or inequalities between the upperclassmen and the underclassmen.

Though there is no evidence of intense hazing at CHS, freshmen and sophomores team members still may face nonviolent hazing.

“On baseball, we make the freshman do all the field work and we tease them a lot,” junior Jacob Storch said.

Some sports teams try to have team bonding, such as pasta dinners and sleepovers, which are not centered on humiliating the freshmen.

“Each year usually the upperclassmen host a spaghetti dinner the night before a meet in order to carb up for the race,” cross country runner Alexandra Conway said.

It is often hard to distinguish between when something is all in good fun and a team bonding moment or when something is hazing and detrimental to the team atmosphere.

Team bonding activities have to be closely supervised or they may quickly escalate into hazing.

According to Rivinus, team bonding activities cross the line into hazing if people feel they did not have a choice and the experience was uncomfortable or negative.

Getting accepted and fitting in are major reasons students endure hazing. As a new member, underclassmen are likely to feel that they have to prove themselves in order to be accepted into the team.

“There is an adolescent, young person attitude that no matter what, they want to join a group of people or team,” Benz said

Initiation at CHS sports may include verbal abuse, push-ups and toilet papering, according to various sources.

“Toilet papering someone’s house is unacceptable,” Rivinus said. “I would classify that as more vandalism than hazing. Forcing someone to toilet paper would be more along the lines of hazing.  This would be an action we would discourage among our athletes.”

Nevertheless, hazing, in any form, is not tolerated at CHS and athletes, coaches and parents are reminded to be vigilant in trying to prevent hazing both on and off campus, according to Rivinus.

“We do our best to try to prevent hazing,” Rivinus said. “I am confident that hazing is not taking place on campus.”