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Hazing incident suspends principal, coach

Four students also suspended
February 25, 2009 12:00:00 AM PST
Four students at Taft High School have been suspended after allegations of hazing on the Woodland Hills campus. That follows the reassignment of several staff members at the school. Students arrived at William Howard Taft Senior High School Wednesday amid a staff shakeup. District officials confirm an investigation into hazing: degrading acts allegedly carried out by older members of the boys volleyball team.

"It was sad 'cause I mean, it was a joke, but it turned into something, something really bad," said student Andre Naranio.

"It's not fair at all," said another student. "I mean, they join a sport just ... for fun, it's not for this, this is not the reason why they joined it."

The school principal has been removed as was the award-winning coach of the boys volleyball team, and four other staff members.

Students told the L.A. Daily News the hazing happened in the locker room, involving suggestive acts with a sex toy. Four students have been suspended.

"I wish they would have a meeting with the principal so the parents can voice their concerns," said parent Marco Lopez.

"I have heard about it," said parent Doris Abrihami. "I'm not concerned at all. ... I think this school is safe."

Hazing is outlawed in California. It is a misdemeanor crime punishable with fines and jail time. No staff member is accused of being involved in any incident. The question is whether they reported it to police in the way they are required.

School officials say a single incident was reported in January, but further investigation by LAPD produced allegations that there was a practice of hazing since September. Eleven students say they were victimized.

Now some students are calling for more education.

"About how to prevent it ... the punishment for the kids and all that," said student Andre Naranio.


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