A high school initiation event goes too far, and the result is numerous citations for minors in possession of alcohol. The initiation ritual happened early Saturday morning in a Southwest Lubbock park. The girls who organize the annual event say it's tradition at Coronado, but critics argue: It's hazing, and it needs to stop.
In the halls of Coronado High School, it's commonly referred to as a big sister program. Members of the senior class select students from the sophomore class and induct them into the group. Before those sophomores become a part of the group, they go through initiation, and that's where a good deal of the controversy lies.
It's supposed to be all in good fun, but even these girls who are involved in the group say Saturday morning things got a little out of control. "I think that the wrong people were there at the wrong time. People that already graduated were there and it's not necessary for them to be there. They're not a part of it," says Coronado Junior Nicole Klemke. "We didn't expect for anything to get out of hand. We thought it was all just going to be clean fun. Just a few people had a little too much to drink and those few people are the ones who caused it to get out of hand," says Coronado Senior Amanda Spruill.
The initiation, or alleged hazing, took place at Jennings Park early Saturday morning. During the event, according to police reports, about 200 young people gathered in the park as senior girls doused sophomore girls with cooking oil, flour, chocolate syrup, eggs and other food items as part of initiation. Some say the girls were also forced to roll in horse manure and jump in the playa lake. The girls say male onlookers were using squirt guns filled with their own urine to spray those being initiated.
The event is very similar to scenes from the popular 1994 teen movie 'Dazed and Confused'. High school girls were initiated or hazed in the same way. Some say the senior sister program at Coronado began shortly after the movie's release and was modeled after the MCA/Universal Pictures movie. Ever since, it has apparently been an annual event the weekend before school starts. "I'm really good friends with my sophomores now," says Spruill.
"There are only maybe 40 to 50 girls who are selected out of the whole thing, so it makes you feel special," says Junior Allison Bellar. The girls say it's a big sister program designed to give sophomores a friend in the senior class who acts as a mentor and someone they can look up to and get advice from. But it's critics say it has a negative effect on girls who aren't selected. Making them feel alienated and left out.
As for Saturday's event, LISD Deputy Superintendent Wayne Havens says LISD does not condone or promote any form of hazing. He says LISD visits with all coaches, teachers and staff and educates them on these matters. Coronado Principal Jack Booe says Saturday's event was not a school sponsored event, and because it happened off campus and over the weekend he had no authority over the situation. He said he has been with Coronado for 10 years and the event has never been a problem in the past. However, because of what happened a few days ago, he plans to address this issue next year by sending all sophomore parents a letter over the summer warning them that if the event were to happen again, it is not sponsored by the school and therefore will not be supervised by a school official.
In the meantime, the girls say they're embarrassed by the actions of a few this year, but it won't spoil the event for good. "It'll go on. It's tradition," says Bellar.
Although it was earlier reported that the initiation involved only athletes, those involved tell us that it actually includes many other students, not just the athletes. According to many of the girls, there were even some parents at the event Saturday morning. According to police reports, three teens were issued citations for minors in possession of alcohol. Two others were cited for disorderly conduct.