I-Team: Needham Soccer Players Suspended In Hazing Probe

By Joe Shortsleeve, WBZ-TV I-Team

NEEDHAM (CBS) – A Norfolk Superior Judge has upheld the suspensions of five girls on Needham High School’s soccer team who allegedly hazed younger teammates.

The parents of the five students went to court Monday to fight the suspensions, but Judge Barbara Dortch-Okara denied the injuction Tuesday morning, ruling “the plaintiffs have not shown a likelihood of success on the merits at trial.”

The parents sought an injunction against the school principal basically saying he can’t suspend their kids and prevent them from playing.

In her ruling, the judge wrote, “As students have no entitlement to participate in high school sports, there is no due process violation in any exclusion from participation in such activities.”

Needham is scheduled to play Brockton in the state tournament Tuesday evening.

WBZ-TV’s I-Team broke the story Monday night, also revealing that the coach has been placed on leave.

“We are very saddened by the inappropriate conduct that we have learned about through an investigation,” Needham High School principal Jonathan Pizzi told WBZ-TV.

THE ALLEGATIONS

The I-Team has learned four seniors and one freshman were suspended for hazing at least two freshmen girls on the team.

The school is investigating allegations that the freshman girls were pulled on dog leashes while blindfolded and then hit in the face with pies – one so hard her nose bled.

Sources tell the I-Team the leashes left marks on their necks.

Original I-Team report on Needham hazing investigation

“I am very saddened by it and I am very concerned about it in terms of student safety and student character,” Pizzi said.

WBZ has confirmed the coach’s daughter is one of the girls suspended.

The coach, Carl Tarabelli, has been placed on leave. He apparently knew of the incident which happened eleven days ago.

Pizzi says “it is clearly conduct that is inconsistent with the schools beliefs, the school core values, and inconsistent with MIAA rules, the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association rules, and we want to address this in a very clear way.”

Read: MIAA Rules On Hazing (.pdf)

Students at the high school were just learning of the suspensions Monday.

One student told the I-Team “I am just aware that it happened and that is about it.”

Another female student told the I-Team “I have just heard that the girls are upset about it but they are not saying much about it.”

The Needham police chief told the I-Team he is aware of the incident. However, he says he is not planning on doing anything at all until the school administration has finished its investigation.

Comments

One Comment

  1. sportsmom says:

    This story has really bothered me. What the girls did was disgusting and they should be suspended and BANNED from all scholastic sports. What I find even more disgusting is the actions of the parents. Shows you how low some in our society have sunk. They are upset that their precious little spoiled brats were suspended and cannot play in a game. Oh boo hoo. And if the shoe was on the other foot? What about the new bullying laws in our state? Is this not a clear cut violation? I have a solution ~ have the girls put on leashes, blindfolded and with pie smeared all over their faces. Have the parents parade around the field pre game carrying signs that state “I support public humiliation” and then let them play. No harm done right parents and girls, this should be a breeze.

    1. fgsdgsg says:

      to sportsmom. that is ridiculos you don’t know what you’re talking about they were just having fun. It’s nnot about society you just need to take it down a notch

      1. sportsmom says:

        My dear fgsdgsg, you are obviously a child by your comment. I don’t know what I am talking about? I am the mother of 7 kids, 4 playing varisty sports in high school. 2 playing in college, and one a varsity female lacrosse coach. NEVER and I mean NEVER has hazing been a part of their “rite of passage” or considered “fun” as some including yourself proclaimed it to be. No instead they are kept way to busy getting their butts kicked by training and practices, team dinners and parties and showing up at games as complete teams ready to play to the best of all their abilities. At the high school level it is hoped that kids have learned right from wrong, but not obviously in this case. Hazing is wrong. That is why it has been banned. That is why the MIAA and MSSAA have actual policies written against it. It is the adults job to make sure those rules are abided by and the parents to make sure their kids now not to participate. The parents are what disgust me here.. they placed more value on the prospect of playing and winning a game than they did on the incident. They are the ones that I believe have caused the most outcry of the whole story. So fgsdgsg, I most certainly do know what I am talking about and someday I hope you look back on this and learn from it.

    2. sportsmom says:

      And to be honest I hope that the game that was going on just recently was won by Needham. I hope they win to show the girls and families involved that they rose above it and went out as a team and played their hearts out and won. Regardless of who sat it out.

    3. hlakhfalsk says:

      funny thing you should mention public humiliation, by supporting and fueling this news story, you’ve offically escalated this from just a team inside joke and team bonding activity to a state wide story. I wonder if the girls are less embarrassed now that the entire state of massachusetts knows about what happened to them instead of just their team. guaranteed you never played sports in high school because you dont know what youre talking about, there’s a difference between being a parent of kids who play and playing, it’s a very fine line.

      1. sportsmom says:

        hlakhfalsk – 4 years, spring soccer, winter gymnastics, spring softball. 3 years of co-captain certaiinly gives me some insight and knowledge. The parents brought this to forefront by trying to get an injunction to allow the girls to play. Case closed.
        This does not reflect the whole town of Needham, which is a wonderful place to live and work. It has many strong community values and morals. It does not reflect the student body of Needham on a whole. Which has many fine, well taught students. This is the ignorance of some young girls who made an extremely bad choice and now paid the consequences. They have been punished with the loss of the game and suspension. They should not be punished further. The parents on the other hand should be thanked and take a long hard look at what matters here. They thankfullly brought a horrible little secret out into the open. Hazing is accepted in Needham and they as the adults need to say it is not okay, not team builiding, not “just having fun”. Just as stealing, bullying, reckless driving, etc. are not. Because all of those were once considered harmless fun also. Usually someone gets hurt beyond what expected and it takes a tragedy to end it. Thankfully that is not the case here.
        Hazing, maybe not the right word – yes I know of it. It was carrying the bags of the older girls, being the last to get on the bus both to and from games, the last to sit and eat. It was also knowing I had teammates to sit and talk to when there were issues at school or home. We were a team, never mean.
        T ogether E veryone A ccomplishes M ore. Hazing divides a team.
        Yesterdays news, time to move on.

  2. Just Me says:

    The suspension should stand. Yes what the girls did was harmless but it still went too far. When I heard the coach’s daughter was in on it I definitely decided the suspension should stay for them and him. He should be fired, I’d bet he knew about it.

    1. Ed Hall says:

      Just Me said “what the girls did was harmless.”

      If you really believe that, then you are no better than the bullies’ parents. Aside from the physical injury (“hit in the face with pies…one so hard her nose bled.”), the incident had to be very humiliating. Attitudes like yours perpetuate this bullying.

    2. Glenn Luce says:

      Harmless bloddy nose and marks on their necks. Not to mention the emotional trauma. What Is this S and M 101?

  3. CraftyCat says:

    I couldn’t agree with you more sportsmom. Just what I was thinking. But I think I would leash and blindfold the parents as well. After all, they seem very supportive of the activity.

  4. Macattack says:

    Chapter 269, Section 17 http://www.miaa.net/hazing-law.pdf
    Crime of Hazing, Definition, Penalty
    Whoever is a principal organizer or participant in the crime of hazing, as defined herein,
    shall be punished by a fine of not more than three thousand dollars or by imprisonment
    in a house of correction for not more than one year, or both such fine and imprisonment.
    The term hazing as used in this section and in sections eighteen and nineteen, shall
    mean any conduct or method of initiation into any student organization, whether on
    public or private property, which willfully or recklessly endangers the physical or mental
    health of any student or other person. Such conduct shall include whipping, beating,
    branding, forced calisthenics, exposure to the weather, forced consumption of any food,
    liquor, beverage, drug or other substance, or any other brutal treatment or forced
    physical activity which is likely to adversely affect the physical health or safety of any
    such student or person, or which subjects such student or other person to extreme mental
    stress, including extended deprivation of sleep or rest or extended isolation.
    Notwithstanding any other provisions of this section to the contrary, consent shall not be
    available as a defense to any prosecution under this action. Added by St. 1985, c.536;
    amended by St. 1987, c.665.

  5. Macattack says:

    Chapter 269, Section 18
    Duty to Report Hazing
    Whoever knows that another person is the victim of hazing as defined in section
    seventeen and is at the scene of such crime, shall, to the extent that such person can do
    so without danger or peril to himself or others, report such crime to an appropriate law
    enforcement official as soon as reasonably practicable. Whoever fails to report such
    crime shall be punished by a fine of not more than one thousand dollars. Added by St.
    1985, c. 536; amended by St. 1987, c. 665.

  6. Dave says:

    Someone should ask the girls being hazed how much trouble they felt they were in, how much harm could be done.
    Lets stop living in the 1950’s, yes its dumb but these are kids, and I’m willing to bet the girls were laughing the whole time… well until she got a bloody nose that is, I would cry.

    1. JJ says:

      I’m sure if these girls reported the incident, they must have felt themselves being harmed and scared. I wonder if you would be laughing if you were forced to be on all fours, choked by a dog leash and hit in the face with objects. Not! Stop living in the 1950’s…what the heck does that mean?

    2. Donna says:

      I’m tired of hearing “these are kids”. Since when are rules made to be broken? When are these kids going to take responsibility for their irresponsible actions. And what about the parents – when are they going to take responsibility for their irresponsible kids? The school administration is right in their actions.

    3. Daniel says:

      America has lost it’s sense of humor. Hazing has been around for a century. If only the internet was around in the 70s and 80s to report the hazing back then. Today is nothing compared to it thanks to liberals and political correctness.

      1. Avon Barksdale says:

        Did Daniel just say “if not for the meddling jerky liberals, hazing would still be AWESOME”?

        Man, you folks in Needham got some strange neighbors.

  7. Former Needham resident says:

    These parents need to teach their kids to be responsible for their actions.

  8. Reason B. Gone says:

    Only a parent completely lacking a genuine (and healthy) relationship with their child would go to bat for them after such a clear violation. Nothing like reinforcing that it ain’t wrong if it can’t be proved in court. Way to go Needham- awesome parenting!

  9. Jay says:

    Shame on the kids for not knowing better. But even more shame on the parents for trying to go to court to get their precious little darlings reinstated. Whatever happened to responsibility in this country of ours?

    As far as the coach is concerned, if it turns out that he knew and did nothing, he should be fired.

  10. Avon Barksdale says:

    From the Needham High School Student Handbook:

    Misconduct of a serious nature that has a direct relationship to the school may result in suspension or expulsion, even when the specific conduct does not take place at school or a school-sponsored event. If a student engages in conduct outside of school that causes substantial disruption to the school environment, such conduct may be considered as the basis for discipline, up to and including expulsion.

  11. Avon Barksdale says:

    “As far as the coach is concerned, if it turns out that he knew and did nothing, he should be fired.”

    As an added bonus, the coach’s daughter is a senior goalkeeper. It is not known if she was involved in the incident.

  12. EX says:

    I played on the NHS soccer team 10 years ago and believe me, this is G rated compared to some of the stuff we did and in turn had done to us when we were on the team. While hazing can go too far (ie kids getting seriosuly hurt, etc), its a natural part of being on a team and building loyalty, and anyone that says otherwise is lying or has a completely distorted picture of reality when it comes to high school competitive sports. Any team I have ever been on, in high school, Division 1 in college, has had its rituals and hazing, especaiily in regards to older teammates versus younger teammates-it is a rite of passage whether people agree with it or not-it happens. I am in no way saying that it should ever go so far that someone should get hurt, but I think everyone is blowing this way out of proportion. I guarantee one of these freshman girls complained to their parents (probably the one with the bloody nose), who in turn went to the school board. Now, NHS girls soccer, which has a shot to win the state title (and haven’t done this well in a season in far too long) will falter to Brockton without a goalie or 4 of their senior players. It was unfortunate that this came out so close to the playoffs. But to suspend these players and put the coach on leave because his daughter happened to be one of the students, is ludicrous. Parents need to calm down. Helicopter parenting within this school system and town is ridiculous. It is not the town that I remember growing up in. Why don’t you go ask the football team or the lacrosse team what type of hazing they participate in? I assure you, it is far worse. Schools and parents these days are so inflexible and so quick to jump to conclusions. Hope the family of the kid who went to the board can deal with the backlash she is going to get for the next 3 years when it comes out they lost a shot at the title because of her.

    1. Anti-EX says:

      I played both high school and college sports and never faced hazing. The “right of passage” line is ridiculous. Way to paint the victims of this inhumane act as the violators.

      Do I think some of our laws and rules have gotten out of hand by over-coddling our kids? Absolutely. That being said, the laws and rules I am a fan of are bullying and hazing laws. Nobody should have to be disgraced by being dragged around on dog leashes. In fact, I don’t even care so much about the bloody nose as I do about the humiliation.

      Not to mention, you’re missing larger overall point. It’s irrelevant if you like or don’t like the rules/laws that have come into play here. They are the rules. The student handbook makes clear that this behavior is unacceptable. Actions always bring consequences: good or bad. The consequences for these girls’ actions are bad. It’s nobody else’s fault.

      I think it’s ludicrous that you would put such significance and importance of a game over the dignity of a human being. You sir…are part of the problem.

      1. Anit-EX (philosophically) says:

        Rather than saying YOU are part of the problem EX, I think it would be more appropriate to say “THE MINDSET OF THINKING YOU ARE USING”. I thought I should clarify so you do not think I meant this as a personal attack on you, as I was simply desiring to disagree with the points you made and not attack YOU. Sorry if it came across that way. Thanks.

      2. Michelle says:

        Nicely put AntiEx. Attitudes like that of EX are why this nonsense continues. As far as any backlash, that also should not be tolerated. She had the guts to come forward. Clearly, she is going to make something of herself. I hope the bullies that were the ringleaders enjoy thier view from the stands. They have nobody to blame but themsleves. Embarrassing a group of younger girls was more importnant that thier team. Nice work ladies (and I use that term very loosely)

    2. Ex=WRONG says:

      I too was part of NHS teams 10 years ago, and there is no way that I would have participated in something that I needed to be hazed to be a part of. Some things in life aren’t worth it.

      It is shameful that these girls are being defended by their parents. All the parents are doing is teaching their daughters that consequences don’t apply to them, and sorry girls, they do. This lazy parental behavior is what leads to generations of snobby, cliquey girls who think they can run right over people, and treat people poorly becuase they feel that they are better than them. Hate to break it to you, but playing Soccer in high school doesn’t make you better than anyone else. And those girls need to learn that lesson now.

      And seriously? You are worried about the title? You realize that it is a HIGH SCHOOL State Title, right? There are so many actually important things in life, like Cancer, Aids, War, the Economy…and you are getting up in arms because of a possible NHS State Title. I would re-analyze my priorities if I were you, or grow up.

      And hopefully the family of the kid who went to the board will realize, like most intelligent and educated people, that they didn’t lose a shot at the title because of her, they lost a shot at the title, when the older girls decided to abuse and haze their teammates. They shouldn’t be allowed to be part of organized sports for the rest of their high school career. Period. They obviously can’t handle the respect and responsibility that goes along with it.

      1. EX = SO RIGHT says:

        you clearly do not understand the real meaning of hazing. if someone asked you to sing a song and take a pie to the face, would you honestly quit the team and walk away? get real. there is no shame in initiating younger girls, it brings the team closer and creates a bond between all members. it is something that everyone has to go through, and no one gets hurt. if the things that were making the girls do were dangerous, it would be a different story, but seriously? pie? singing? don’t be stupid…a state title is a huge deal, whether you think it is or not, and many girls future soccer careers could hinge on this. would you really take that away from them for a silly stunt that they went through as well? get off your high horse. you may think that high school is about preparing you for college and the real world, teaching the “respect and responsibility” that you claim these girls can’t handle, but clearly you didn’t go to high school anytime in the recent past, because thats not what its about. its ALL about the cliques and the intimidation of older kids and rights of passage for younger kids on varsity teams. if they were good enough to make the team, they should be tough enough to take the “responsibility” that comes with it, whether its winning a state title or taking a pie to the face. in this case, its both.

      2. EX = SO WRONG says:

        If an individual feels threatened, hurt, or humiliated through emotional, or physical force, it is hazing. So regardless of what you think is harmless activity, it can certainly fall into the definition of hazing from the perspective of the individual being subjected to such activity.

      3. Anti-EX says:

        “if they were good enough to make the team, they should be tough enough to take the “responsibility” that comes with it”

        There is absolutely no way hazing can be considered a responsibility by a team member. What an asinine comment.

    3. rockets13 says:

      I too went to NHS played 3 sports and yes I was hazed a little bit as a younger student athlete, and yes my grade did carry on some of those “hazing traditions.” And I admit it was foolish and immature. BUT when we did what we did we all knew the risks that came with, while doing it, and looking back it was such a big risk. We all watched the videos and listened to speakers and went through the school handbook. It was so clear that hazing is against the school policies for sporting team we knew it, and these girls had to have known it (I mean they push it down our throats). I feel that the punishment fits the crime. It’s the same thing as getting caught drinking and being suspended for games. There are consequences to things we do, and for these parents to try to fight the consequences just teaches our kids that they do not apply to the rules and policies. You don’t have to agree with the rules but they are still the rules! Sorry Needham parents and students.. but yes rules do apply to all of us even if a state championship on the line.

      1. EX = SO RIGHT--Response from me and my High Horse says:

        The real meaning of hazing?!?! The real meaning of hazing is to make yourself feel superior to someone by tearing them down and forcing them to degrade themselves.
        If someone asked me to degrade myself and my self-worth, I would walk away. It’s called having a backbone and some self-worth. That is something that my GOOD parents instilled in me when I was very young.
        It is also possible to initiate younger girls and create a group bond without hazing or humiliating them. It just takes an intelligent mind to come up with it, something which you apparently lack.
        I’m not being stupid. I am aware that a state title CAN be a big deal, but if the girls really saw it as a BIG deal and wanted to use it to further their soccer careers, then they would have taken it a little more seriously by, say, not abusing kids. Putting a dog leash on another student and hitting them in the face, with pie, or anything else, is not a “silly stunt.” It’s mental and physical abuse. Plus these girls are old enough to know the difference between right and wrong. If they chose to act poorly and haze the younger players, then they know the risk they are taking. So if something gets taken away from them based on their actions, or their “silly stunt” as you call it, then they completely deserve the consequences.
        The problem is, they don’t believe the rules apply to them.

        If you had read my post, you would see that I started with the fact that I was in high school 10 years ago, which I am pretty sure qualifies as the “recent past.” High School is different, but not THAT different. During my tenure, NHS may have had cliques and intimidations by older kids, and rites of passage(there is no such thing as a “right” of passage), there were also players that were role models and mentors.
        You can be a skilled soccer player and be tough enough to make the team, without having to “take the responsibility” to degrade yourself.
        A special bonus to me “on my high horse” is when I go back and visit Needham, I find that the bullies and older kids that thought that consequences didn’t apply to them when I was in high school are the ones waiting on me at restaurants or pumping my gas.

    4. no. says:

      EX – Just because something has been going on for a long time does not mean it is right and okay. I have also played high school and Division 1 college sports. The teams i was on had no form of hazing (other than the occasional, freshman go carry the gear to the bus) and they were extremely healthy teams with strong bonds between all the players. This has absolutely nothing to do with helicopter parenting. This is black and white. Hazing is wrong. Slavery went on for a long time before we ended it, does that mean it was right and a natural part of life?

  13. KJF says:

    I would be more than happy to help you folks down off your “high horse”. Have any of you played school sports? I think not. No one was hurt, including the player with the nosebleed. I am not a parent with any connection to this incident, my youngest is twenty-four. All three of my children played one sport or another and all were “initiated” in one way or another, with no lasting scars, just fond memories. This is another case of an old adage: “the surest way to mess up a kid’s game is to involve adults”. I am sure that the girls on the receiving side of this harmless initiation are now hiding their heads in embarrassment and disbelief over a few parent’s overreaction.

    1. KJF-WRONG says:

      I appreciate the help down from my “high horse.” But I think I can manage it. Or should I get down by stepping on the backs of others, like the Needham soccer girls?
      You asked if I played school sports, and the answer is yes, so your thought process appears to be wrong. No one was hurt? I am pretty sure a bloody nose based on excessive force classifes as an injury.

      Your kids were “initiated?” And you are proud of this fact? Even though it usually includes large amounts of alcohol or advanced sexual activity, property damage or physical or emotional abuse. Aaaahh yes…fond memories. Memories any parent should be OH so proud of.

      I would hope that the girls on the receiving side of this harmFUL initiation are happy that their parents support them more than you apparently supported your children.

    2. KJF-Check your definition of "Initiated" says:

      in·i·ti·ate
      1. To set going by taking the first step; begin:
      2. To introduce to a new field, interest, skill, or activity.

      If these girls were being “initiated,” shouldn’t that have taken place at the BEGINNING of the season?? … seeing as the definition of initiate means beginning or first step. If kids are being “initiated” in November, it is not an initiation to welcome them into a new team or group of girls, it is hazing for the sake of hazing. I wonder what activities your kids participated in while they were being “Initiated” in one way or another. I’m sure if they were honest with you about it, now that time has passed, you would be shocked and appalled.

  14. jaygee says:

    Unfortunately, hazing has been going on for a very long time and will continue to despite the warnings against it. Bullying has also been present since the beginning of time and will continue because it is, sadly enough, a part of human nature. How can young kids in school listen to adults who preach against hazing and bullying when they just have to listen to the news and see what the adults are doing every day both in this state and around the world?

  15. Avon Barksdale says:

    “its a natural part of being on a team and building loyalty, and anyone that says otherwise is lying or has a completely distorted picture of reality when it comes to high school competitive sports.”

    =========================

    You’re living in an America that has come and gone. Not only that, but in the civilized world, hazing rituals were on the outs as long as 25 years ago. I played on a state championship football team and joined a fraternity full of athletes, and NEVER got treated in any way even roughly analagous to this freakshow. The overtones of the leashes are not lost on me, are they lost on you?

    And really, that’s a nice sentiment – calling out the kid whose parents went to the board. Is she the one who got the bloody nose? Because if my kid comes home with a smashed up face and I have to take her to the hospital, I’m not sitting on my hands because “we can win a state title.” My daughters are varsity soccer players in another town, and frankly I would throw any “shot at a title” right in the garbage can if this nonsense were happening on their team.

    Having stood next to the Needham parents on the sideline when we played them a few weeks back, I can see why you would react this way. What a bunch of loudmouth jerks.

  16. Needham Parent says:

    I agree – the parents in this case going to court is one of the biggest offenses here. These girls need to face their consequences and that will be the best learning experience for them – having mom / dad bail them out will be a crime

  17. Avon Barksdale says:

    Apparently in Needham “snitches get stitches.”

  18. Harry Klein says:

    On face value this story is extremely disturbing and those involved worthy of our anger and scorn. The notion of dog leashes around young women’s necks is wrong on too many levels to enumerate.

    Here’s the “but”…Knowing the coach (and yes, he’s loud and competitive) and some of the players, I have a nagging suspicion that the whole story hasn’t yet been told.

    If this is the whole story and it’s true, the coach and players should be suspended. The parents should be less concerned about going to court than their daughters’ behavior. No game, chance at a state title or any other opportunity takes precedence over human dignity.

    All that said, I would like additional information and corroboration before I make a judgment.

  19. DavidW says:

    The crazy part of the story is not that hazing occurred – it’s the nutty parents who are seeking an injunction through the courts so their daughters can play after they broke the rules and were caught. I have a simple solution: the hazed kids should sue the hazing parents for assault and Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress. Maybe that will teach the parents to not clog up our courts with a high school game. What lesson are you teaching your kids? It’s ok to break laws as long as you have a good lawyer?

  20. jsmith77 says:

    Hazing builds character, stop being wimps about it, toughen up or dont play sports

    1. JSmith=WRONG says:

      Are you kidding me JSmith? Are you really that ignorant?
      Hazing builds character? You sound like the stereotypical jock jerk in every 80’s movie. You know the one….that ends up being a washed-up has been.

      Hazing doesn’t build character….it tears down self-esteem and self-worth.
      You shouldn’t have to be able to withstand abuse in order to play a sport or be part of a team.

      I feel sorry for you and your obtuse, narrow-minded view of the world. And I certainly feel sorry for your children or future children that have to be raised with a parent with such a skewed view on reality. It is those exact views and that pressure that lead to teen suicide.

      Hazing doesn’t build character…Hazing leads to abusive adults and future criminals.

  21. Avon Barksdale says:

    >>> “Hazing builds character, stop being wimps about it, toughen up or dont play sports”

    =====================

    By any chance, do you coach in Needham?

  22. Former Athlete says:

    I played HS, D1 College, and even 2 years of Minor League baseball and was NEVER hazed. The worst that was done to me was being made to carry equipment onto the field as a freshman. I think that the people invovled should be punished because there are rules stating that this type of behavior is not OK. The parents should also be ashamed of themselves.

  23. Sulia says:

    As the parent of a senoir soccer player whose team is playing in the state tournament, I have seen the girls humiliate and degrade their teammates in the name of “team bonding”. I am glad this behavior has finally had some real consequences and may give pause to other teams who participate in this manner.
    As for the parents, shame on them.

  24. Div. 1 Athlete with a conscience says:

    I too played a D1 sport in college and was never hazed in high school or college. Hazing is a horrendous tradition that must be put to rest. Surely there are better ways to “build character” and team unity. Perhaps those doing the hazing see it as fun because they’re finally getting their revenge on what was done to them. Even if a student is laughing while being hazed, it doesn’t mean he/she is enjoying it and not hurting from within. Playing sports builds character, teamwork, confidence, and resiliency. Hazing does far more harm than good, irregardless of whether parents get involved or not. It’s beyond time to take back sportsmanship. There are much better ways to welcome freshmen to the team. How about seniors carry their bags and show respect to the freshmen – reverse the traditions to the utmost.

  25. The Graduate says:

    I recently graduated Needham High and played many sports. From what I saw, heard, and talked about, the boys teams haven’t hazed in decades, whereas the girls teams haze more often, even over minor personal feuds. It is very unfortunate that hazing escalated to this point, but suspending girls or taking legal action only makes them martyrs.

  26. cpm, needham says:

    Surely there are ways to develop team spirit and loyalty that do not depend on cruelty and intimidation. Coaches should teach top players to be positive role models, to mentor younger, less skilled players. That’s what builds character and winning teams.

  27. pj73 says:

    To the couple of people who appear to be advocating that the victim/victims and their families will or should face harassment for coming forward: Any type of harassment, threats or any action causing duress to a victim/witness to prevent them from reporting a crime or testifying or in retaliation for such at ANY POINT in an investigation is called INTIMIDATION OF A WITNESS and is a felony in Massachusetts (punishable by 2.5 years or more in prison).

  28. EX = CLUELESS says:

    It is quite obvious that four years of college have been wasted on you. You really have no clue with what has happened.

    The fact that Needham is competing for the stats championship is irrelevant. These girls are guilty of hazing, and there by doing so, MUST suffer the consequences according to the written rules in Needhams student handbook.

    I feel sorry for any (and future) children that you may bare. Please practice safe sex..

  29. you think your so smart says:

    To the Parents: You fail: The court will not excuse your lack of good parenting.
    You fail: Your suburban values of classism and entitlement are worthless.
    You fail: Imparting responsibility to children or community. Go humiliate yourselves somewhere else where you are not so transparent.

  30. HAZING != PLAYING says:

    Having been a former NHS varsity athlete I was around hazing and had
    been around it in college as well. It does nothing for team loyalty or bonding or any such thing. It’s no coincidence that the younger ones are the ones that are hazed. If it built such good loyalty, all the kids would get hazed each year. Also, all you athletes out there, if they come to haze you, you can just say no and walk away. A tough thing to do, but it can be done. I’ve done it. You’ll play if your good and they need you regardless if you got hazed or not. Its about winning in HS and above and hazing odes nothing to help a team win.

    Parents, tell your kids not to let them haze you and report it if they try.

    1. Former Needham resident says:

      Good! Those parents can go whine somewhere else.

      1. Avon Barksdale= CORRECT says:

        They can go whine somewhere else or they can try to start setting a good example for their daughters. The last thing Needham needs is more people thinking that rules don’t apply to them.

  31. Sportsman says:

    Played HS, college and pro sports for teams competed for championships and was never hazed. Have three kids that weren’t hazed but would have reacted very differently if they were. No matter how they reacted I would have done something about it. My bet is that the parents are concerned about their girl’s college future. Hazing is something that must be stopped but I hope there is a way they can learn a lesson and be better people because of the lesson. This gets to the reason for school athletics. Training, exercising self-discipline and competing within the rules. Hazing teaches athletes to exercise an unfair advantage. That flies in the face of good sportsmanship.

  32. Michelle says:

    I have high school age daughter and if she was invlolved in something like this there is no way in hell I would be filing an injunction on her behalf. Those parents are the reason thier kids behave this way. Supporting thier bad behavior by throwing money at it preptuates the problem. Wake up parents!
    Hazing is not OK. I think the coach had to know about it seeing as his daughter was involced and he should be fired. The kids invloved should be kicked off the team. My daughter’s coaches would NEVER allow this kind of behavior, thier team is like family and would never treat anyone like these animals from Needham.

  33. Fred Taylor says:

    The parent filing the suit was trying to allow the girls who were NOT involved in the hazing to play in the state tournament. The school is not going to allow the rest of the team to play at all and will forfeit. Hard to criticize him for that.

    1. Michelle says:

      The game is not being cancelled. Only the girls who were involved are being penalized. Maybe the other girls should have done something to stop it.

    2. Fred Taylor-Incorrect Information says:

      That is blatantly not true. He was filing to reverse the suspension.

  34. GoNeedham! says:

    Only in Needham . . . ya think a little too much spare time for the over-privileged . . . this is so entertaining. . . I think they should cancel sports altogether due to the fact that players often foul each other on the field which in-turn promotes a life-style of violence . . . we can’t have that. At least have them wear helmets . . . am I right?

  35. jay says:

    SO SORRY Soccer moms. You all forgot to teach your LITTLE DARLINGS RESPECT. I guess thats just the way the ball bounces.

  36. likeab52 says:

    keep the suspension AND fine the ugly parents —$1,500 apiece . Parents like these should not be allowed to have kids.

  37. NHS Soccer Alum says:

    As a member of the NHS soccer team from 10 years ago, I feel compelled to respond to “Ex”‘s comment (above) that reads, “I played on the NHS soccer team 10 years ago and believe me, this is G rated compared to some of the stuff we did and in turn had done to us when we were on the team.” This is patently untrue. 10 years ago the NHS girls soccer team was dressing up before Newton North soccer games and eating pasta at team dinners; I was never hazed once nor witnessed hazing during any of my three years on the team. The suggestion that the allegations against these girls are part of a 10 year tradition of hazing on the NHS soccer team is simply absurd.

    1. Michelle says:

      Agreed, our girls in Wareham had team dinners, homework sessions and sleepovers. The over priveledged brats in Needham could learn a thing or two from our team!

  38. MF says:

    Hazing does not build better teams, if it did then why aren’t your towns bringing home titles every year? Dedication, hard work, and commitment builds better teams. I was fortunate to win 2 state championship titles in high school and we bonded and build loyalty around WINNING not hazing the future of our team.

    I am sad and embarrassed for the ‘adults’ who truly believe the ‘rite of passage’ is important and I pray you will never experience the day to eat your own words when some group takes it just a little too far and hurts your kid.

    These are not the same incidents as decades past, the game has changed and the stakes are much higher than they were in the past. Let’s try raising children with self respect, compassion and empathy for others, and a drive to work hard to get what you want in life.

  39. Former Needham Soccer Captain says:

    To all those who are posting. Having been a high school athlete at Needham, a college athlete, and a future high school teacher and coach, I wonder what the affect of all these comments will have on those involved. Are you not just perpetuating a cycle of bullying and harassment? People make mistakes… that is a part of growing up. These students made a huge mistake and appropriate punishment will be given. What gives anyone the right to pass judgment on these students or a situation that none of you were directly involved in? What lesson are you teaching students by replying to a already horrible situation with more negative remarks. Michelle how is generalizing and stereotyping a whole town helping? What are we teaching students that generalization, name calling is ok?

    1. Student- hurt by all this talk says:

      Thank you for posting this.
      “What gives anyone the right to pass judgment on these students or a situation that none of you were directly involved in? “. I agree. It really is not for us to judge, especially since we do not have all sides of the story. Negativity will not bring this incident closer to a reasonable conclusion.

  40. Michelle says:

    Former Needham Soccer Captain
    No disrespect to you, I meant the overprivledged brats who committed the offense. I’m sure there are many great kids in Needham.

  41. NHS soccer says:

    Wow-never seen a comment board light up like this before. You people can be pretty nasty to one another. Easy when you can hide behind a keyboard. And the Needham comments…totally unnecessary. Yes, Needham is a affluent town, but that doesn’t mean everyone in it is a spoiled, rich brat. Quite the contrary. If you actually lived here, maybe you would know that. And yes, we are a proud town with a long history, and a solid soccer program, but that doesn’t make us all loud mouth jerks. That being said I’d have to agree that what these girls did was excessive. I get that in some sports or schools hazing does occur, but it’s usually on a much lower scale. I was a member of the NHS soccer team 11 years ago, and while there was some messing with the younger players (ie pranks, toilet papering houses, maybe doing something embarrassing), it never got to this extreme. I think you have to keep in mind here, that these are teenagers. Teenagers don’t always think before they act. The girls leading this obviously thought it would be funny. The girls participating in it probably felt some peer pressure and didn’t want to look like they were “letting the team down”. It’s unfortunate that someone got hurt (nose bleed). It’s even more unfortunate that they couldn’t foresee the consequences. But I’m not sure any of them thought it would come to this. I’m not defending their actions, but I think people need to calm down. These girls are not all little mean brats running around dragging people on dog-leashes every chance they get/ It was at a soccer field, obviosuly planned in advance. They made a bad choice. As for the parents, once again, people jump to conclusions. The parents were not going to court so the girls in trouble could play-they were going so those not involved could play. I think it’s a pretty bad deal that they didn’t allow the remainder of the team to play on without those who are at the center of this and cost them the whole season. They probably would have lost without these players anyway, but at least let those non-offenders finish their season, and those seniors not involved play in their last game. I suppose its the actions of one hurting everyone on the team. I just don’t think the punishment fits the crime. Punish the girls responsible, but not the whole team. My senior year, we had a few different girls, all seniors and starters, caught for drinking. Yes, its not the exact same situation, but those girls were suspended and not allowed to play in the play-offs, but the rest of the team was. That punishment fit the crime. As for the girls who are in trouble, let’s not hang them out to dry before they have had a chance to explain what happened. Many of these girls probably had soccer scholarships or a spot on a soccer team at some college waiting for them-those may be gone now. While I agree they definitely need to take responsibility for their actions and whatever consequences may come with that, I sincerely hope this does not affect future plans they had. Yes, one bad decision can cost you so much, but let’s put this in perspective people. They are kids. I just think schools these days are so quick to jump down kids throats. No cheering at hockey games? We used to throw dead fish on the ice of our opponents rinks when NHS played. No one ever ended up suspended for that. I get it with the bullying issues that have gone on recently and I am glad it’s being addressed, but people need to stop the witch hunt.

  42. NHS soccer says:

    Thank you Former Needham Soccer Captain for putting this in perspective. So many of the people commenting on this board are complete hypocrites and are making assumptions about an entire town through 5 teenaged girls. The passing of judgement on these girls and the insensitive comments about them are sickening. You are correct-these people (and I am sure many of them are parents) are just perpetuating a cycle of bullying and harassment. Thanks for calling them out…

    1. Former Needham Soccer Captain says:

      NHS Soccer… I was on that team 11 years ago and remember that incident very well. Thank you for your post as well I agree with people hiding behind keyboards

  43. Coach MARY says:

    My daughter played soccer for Needham High and I can tell you that the hazing is nothing new. it’s been going on for a while. I’m not surprised the coach knew about it this time. There are plenty of other qualified coaches in Needham who should coach next year.

  44. Student- hurt by all this talk says:

    Hold on a minute. This article never said they were dragged. It hurts me to see people so quick to judge. This article is very incomplete and misleading. As a NHS senior, I do not support or condemn the actions of any of the girls or the parents. The whole situation is sad and upsetting.

    I do believe that the girls meant this to be a silly and entertaining group activity. That does not make it right, but since no one here has talked with any of those involved, I ask, as a student, a peer, and a teen, that we all refrain from judging. The rude comments towards Needham, its students, or parents are unnecessary and hurtful. We all make mistakes.

    Please, stop the hurtful comments and let us allow the girls to learn and the schools to teach without negative outside interferance. These girls have been through a lot and while you don’t have to like them or their actions, please respect them as human beings. We’re all still learning. What I learned today is how quick people jump at the chance to make harsh and uninformed judgements. To those of you who have posted your opinions about the girls, parents, school or otherwise, please stop to reflect whether you are helping or hurting. After all, you don’t know these girls and have no way of knowing if you have the whole story.

    1. Anonymous says:

      I agree, as a former student as well, everyone on this board has been bashing needham as if this “hazing” is a reflection of all of needham. Calling kids brats is completely out of line. Needham high school is an incredibly tough academic school in which students are pressured daily from all sides. All the parents and adults on this thread that are bashing kids as if they didn’t do these things themselves… you are seriously wrong.

      these girls should understand their actions and be punished for it. HOWEVER their punishment should not come from the useless gossip and over-analyzing of some bored bystanders.

  45. grandma says:

    The parents of these girls should be ashamed of themselves. Seniors should be ;leaders on their teams and set an example for the younger players. If their irresponsible actions cause the team to “suffer” that is a burden they have to bear.

  46. Annie says:

    I totally agree with the suspension. Society has forgotten decency and accountability. What they did was a form of bullying. And this has got to stop in society.

    My daughter, years ago, was late getting to school on the last day of class, the principal suspended her and her friends (all good students and athletes) as they had no viable excuse. The other parents were upset…but they broke a rule and couldn’t/shouldn’t be treated any different than any other student. I applaud the principal for upholding the rules…a good lesson learned for life as an adult and hopefully a lesson learned for the parents that not all things should be “fixed” to make things easy for their kids.

  47. Bystander 73 says:

    “The parents were not going to court so the girls in trouble could play-they were going so those not involved could play”

    No, they weren’t. There was never any question the game would be played. The question was would the five players involved in the hazing would play. Both the principal and judge ruled properly.

  48. Bystander 73 says:

    “These girls have been through a lot and while you don’t have to like them or their actions, please respect them as human beings”

    Nice sentiment, and one you may want to share with the 5 young ladies who seemed okay with not respecting the hazing victims as human beings.

  49. Fred Taylor says:

    I stand corrected on the suit and its purpose. However, I am certain that virtually all you glib, high and mighty bashers of the suspended girls and the residents of Needham have no direct knowledge of what actually transpired here. The only people who really know are the members of the team, their coaches, and those at the school who investigated this. I applaud the principal for taking action based on his findings. The real people harmed in this are the girls on the Needham soccer team – both those who were hazed and those who had to face Brockton tonight without their teammates.

    Most of you need to step away from the computers in your mothers’ basements and change that week old underwear you have on. Many of the comments posted in this section are more irresponsible than the actions you are criticizing without full knowledge of what may have happened. Get a life.

    1. Fred Taylor=Storyteller says:

      It is difficult to preach to others about being high and mighty bashers of suspended girls, when you initially took to commenting on message boards with blatantly incorrect information. Information that I have been unable to find one source citing. So, where did you get your info or did you just simply make it up?
      How does that make you any different from these “high and mighty bashers” that you seem to have such a problem with?
      Also, I believe most of these comments were made by educated individuals who simply have a problem with impressionable students being abused in a school that most of us called home at one point or another.
      You are only debasing yourself by referring to us all as being in front of our computers in our mother’s basements in our week old underwear. So,first you make up your own reason for a law suit? And now you make sweeping generalizations? Maybe it’s time you get a life.

  50. Glad I don't live in Needham says:

    The parents of these kids are unbelievable.

  51. Recent NHS Grad says:

    I’m from the graduating class of 2010 from Needham, and I’m pretty offended by this incident. As a freshman in college, I’ve started to hear some of the horror stories of fraternity hazing.. and let me tell you. This is NOTHING compared to what I’ve heard.

    THAT BEING SAID: This is pretty pathetic. I don’t think it should be made a huge deal because it happens everywhere. I have, however, heard from some of my friends still going to school in Needham that the freshman girls were scared for their lives – and that it unacceptable. Hazing can be fun, just from making someone lug your books around all day. Or making them wear stupid clothes. But it should never be taken to this extreme (because yes, this is extreme, and extremely stupid).

    Dumb, dumb, dumb. I’m upset with you people who are making this a big deal, I’m upset with the girls for scaring their teammates who should be LOOKING UP TO THEM instead of fearing them, and i’m upset with the media. All in all, a really frustrating situation, especially from someone who went to this school less than six months ago.

  52. CP09 says:

    Soccer is a team sport. Team building happens though teaching and helping new players improve not by humiliating them.

    These girls, and any other students who still practice ‘traditions’ like this, should be prepared fo accept the full consequences of their actions.

  53. Anonymous says:

    I go to Needham High and the opinions people have of Needham are insulting. This incident is only creating a poor image of the town that is entirely not true. The Coach does not reflect the entire high school staff and these girls do not reflect the entire student body. As the article say’s most of us didn’t know or had only heard about the hazing, I didn’t find out about it until today. Stop with the negative comments such as “The last thing Needham needs is more people thinking that rules don’t apply to them” “over privileged brats” “would never treat anyone like these animals from Needham” seriously what type of people are you? you are demonizing students at the high school and it is just awful. I would also like to (sarcastically) thank the media for bringing an incident, that could have easily been dealt with by the school, Into statewide attention.

  54. Maureen says:

    And we wonder where the entitlement attitude comes from. We have raised a generation of kids who have athletic ability and are therefore absolved from any consequences for their actions. Teamwork is an important concept to be taught to young athletes and we have failed at this. While hazing like rituals are encouraged, the spirit of real teamwork is lost. It is about loyalty and support!!! Instead of encouraging degrading hazing activities, true team building needs to be encouraged in youth and high school sports in our communities, i.e. trust exercises and community service.

  55. Maureen says:

    This is not just a problem for Needham. It is prevalent throughout many towns in Massachusetts.

  56. SL says:

    I’m saddened and at times shocked by some of the comments. Back 16 years ago while on a school trip I was duct taped into a bathroom while on a school trip while classmates stood outside laughing. Was it harmless? Well physically I was fine but emotionally it was like being punched in the gut. Of course at the time I had to just laugh it off and pretend it didn’t bother me but guess what it’s 16 years later and I still remember how it felt hearing the laughter and taunting from the other side of the door. My classmates thought it was a great joke but to me it was my most embarrassing moment. People think that physical pain is worse than emotional/mental pain…it’s not and that’s why we have bullying and hazing laws now. We need to help children know they don’t have to take the abuse and if they don’t think the joke is funny they don’t have to “laugh along” on the outside.

  57. windixie says:

    wahhhhhhhh i feel so bad for those poor freshman they should have done this ritualistically like frats do when they stick bulbs up your butt

  58. Needham Resident says:

    I completely agree ex. The news has also seriously distorted the original story and now these girls who have in fact been forced to do worse by their seniors are being treated like criminals over something that is actually very minor and should not have been used as propaganda for this new law. From what I have heard these girls feel horrible about the way the girls felt after, however the soccer team still won their game after this took place. Now that the senior players have been removed though Needham had lost its chance at the tournament, and Needham has lost two games in a row. No matter what anyone says this has gotten way out of hand and no one actually even knows the true story. Everything people know has come out of the mouths of others who are trying to get a rise, and who need to make an example. Although in comparison many teams do much worse.

    1. Anonymous says:

      The Needham girls may feel horrible after the situation, but they made the conscious choice to participate in hazing-type behavior. It is extremely stupid and reckless, especially just weeks after the number of bullying-related suicides.
      And people keep saying that it is harmless fun. Bloody noses and marks on kid’s necks because of dog collars and leashes are not harmless fun.
      People need to stop saying that ‘these girls are young and they make mistakes.’ In this day and age, 17 years old, is really not that young.
      When I was 17 or 18, I knew the difference between right and wrong, and if I chose to misbehave, it was a conscious decision, not a mistake that I could blame on being “young or not knowing any better.”
      And furthermore, Who cares if other “teams do much worse”? Just because there are people or teams out there who are more negative and destructive, does not excuse the bullying and hazing treatment of these girls. Scars and bruises fade; embarrassment and humiliation last a lifetime.

  59. Bill Galluccio says:

    Hey sportmom I think you need to wake up. If your kids are involved in sports odds are they were hazed. Hazing is a quite common in sports. As long as nobody is injured then lets leave it alone. If the hazing involved a risky behavior that could hurt somebody, it needs to be addressed. I was hazed in marching band. On a bus ride the seniors made the freshmen stand in the aisle and sing a song. People need to lighten up. Look at professional sports. In football rookies have to carry pads, get tied to goal posts, and other various humiliation. In baseball, many teams have the rookies dress in drag on road trips, or carry pink backpacks. I’m sure there are other things that the media doesn’t report or know about. This isn’t condemned by people, in fact it is celebrated on ESPN and sports networks.

  60. MS Teacher says:

    I am shocked that there are so many comments saying “you need to lighten up,” or “there was no harm done,” etc. To suggest in anyway that this behavior is acceptable or expected is disgusting. Nobody can really know how those girls being hazed truly felt. Kids will do and accept almost anything to be accepted by their peers. This makes me sick, sick, sick. Parents of students in this school district should be proud to be associated with a principal willing to stand up for what is right!

  61. cory o says:

    This from the people of Mass. look who they vote to power… i would be embarrassed to live there.

    1. Proud to be from Mass says:

      cory o-At least we, in Massachusetts know how to write a complete and grammatically correct sentence. We also know when things are relevant, unlike you. This story is about hazing in high school. Leave your misguided views of politics at the state line please.
      And also, for the record, without Massachusetts, there would be no ________(<–insert your state name here). It all started here!

  62. happy cat says:

    These girls must be sooo embaressed …. i feel so bad i cant belive these girls would haze new girls on the team!! just me i agree with u the coach SHOULD be fired ha did probley no about it and probley gave them permission to do . DISSAPOINTING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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