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Students in Garfield hazing incident appeal suspensions

Nine of the eleven Garfield High School students temporarily expelled in the wake of this reported September 27th hazing incident have appealed their suspensions, the district said in an announcement made Friday afternoon.

The incident involving what some have described as a traditional annual party in the Arboretum included hazing abuse and underage drinking, according to a letter to parent sent by Garfield principal Ted Howard. Howard, who is black, also complained of racist verbal assaults directed at him by students and other celebrants when he arrived with police at the scene of the party.

CHS posted 911 audio of the SPD response here:

According to the Seattle Public Schools statement, of the eleven students originally suspended in an emergency action following the incident, six received short-term suspensions ranging from five to nine days while three received long-term suspensions – one for 15 days and two for 20 days. Two of the students were misidentified and had their expulsions revoked, the district statement said.

“Garfield staff is working with students and families to facilitate conversations about student hazing and what types of strategies can be introduced to prevent it,” the statement read. “The school is also committed to helping students address the peer pressure involved in participating in these activities.”

In addition to the suspensions, students who were disciplined will also miss out on the school’s spring Purple and White Day dance and will be unable to attend dances for the remainder of the school year — including senior prom.

No details of any further criminal investigation by SPD were announced.

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9 thoughts on “Students in Garfield hazing incident appeal suspensions

  1. Why are suspensions the answer to issues like this? All it does is put the student behind. How about more homework? Classes to teach them *WHY* what they did is bad? Or other options?

  2. Or how about just prosecuting them criminal since this was a crime. Leave the school out of it. It didn’t happen on school property so I am not even sure how the school has any jurisdiction over this. The school should not be able to punish based on behavior off their own property. That’s up to city officials to deal with.

    • There are some Seattle Public School regulations that might consider this fair grounds – but I agree with you. The School can only be expected to do so much. They are not the police.

  3. I hope it gets hammered in. Garfield didn’t have this level of froshing and frat-level garbage when I was there not too long ago, it’s the kind of toxic “tradition” that gets people hurt. Have a house party, drink some beer, get busted with an MIP, sure, but this particular shindig seems to have taken it a bit too far.

    I agree with Rick above, though, suspension is not the answer. Community service during lunchtime, probation, parent conferences… all better options.

    • The press, as usual, did not accurately report “the story” – it is the same stuff that has been going on for 40 years – with minor variations, and no one was forced to do anything, from what I understand of it.

    • This form this recent KIRO story @

      “It always happens at a location where seniors are in the loop, but sometimes the location has to be changed, because the principal could get tipped off where it’s happening,” said Augustine Vanden Brulle, a senior…. On Friday, the “secret” location of the annual froshing event was changed at the last minute. “Everyone moved from Seward Park to the Arboretum,” said Vanden Brulle.
      Principal Ted Howard was tipped-off, and arrived in the wooded area with a Seattle Police…

      “It’s usually good-natured, it’s like kids like messing around to bully the freshmen, the new kids,” said sophomore David Morgan. Sophie, who did not want her last name used, said when she went through it last year, “It was fun, like a scavenger hunt,” kind of like being at camp.”

      Vanden Brulle said students scattered when Principal Howard announced his presence over a megaphone. “He said this is Mr. Howard! This is the Seattle Police Department! Everybody stop, don’t get in your cars!” But students ran everywhere, including into traffic, and caused a collision. Students told KIRO 7 Howard was seen chasing students into nearby streets. “He was running after kids with his megaphone yelling “I’m closing in on you,” said Vanden Brulle.

      Hmmm. Do you think this might have had something to do with the chaos and accidents? Anyone think this was “well handled”?..

  4. Does the school have the right to issue disciplinary action during an event that is not school-sponsored and is held during after-school hours? I’m not convinced who has jurisdiction over the behavior of these students — parents or school officials?

    Even though the school has policies that prohibit this behavior, does that give them the right to act on it, 24/7? And by issuing a disciplinary action, are they also assuming the responsibility for these students (making them also accountable for the behavior of these students)? Could the parents then hold the school accountable for the student behavior?

    A good legal team needs to sort this one out so no one oversteps their legal jurisdiction. All we need is a lawsuit against a district that is already struggling with other budgetary matter.

    • I agree.

      It is an area of controversy.

      The School may have some jurisdiction since it was a gathering of Students – but they cannot assume the role of the police.