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October 2, 2013 at 2:58 PM

6 suspects identified in Garfield High hazing incident

Seattle police have identified six people suspected in a recent hazing incident involving Garfield High School students.

Department spokeswoman Renee Witt said no arrests have been made and detectives are only in the investigative stages. She said parents of the suspected students are being contacted.

Seattle Public Schools spokeswoman Teresa Wippel said district officials were notified Wednesday morning of the identifications.

“What I was told is the police asked us not to do anything so they can get their work done,” said Wippel, adding that the suspects are still enrolled at Garfield and have not faced any discipline.

There has long been a tradition of hazing at Garfield, according to police and district officials.

“This happens each year with these juniors and seniors,” Witt said on Tuesday. “When officers try to investigate, [the students] get peer pressured into dropping the case. They’re trying to get these victims to follow through.”

On Friday, underclassmen were being paddled, wearing diapers, having eggs thrown at them and shoe polish put on them at a gathering discovered at the Arboretum.

In an email to parents, Garfield principal Ted Howard said the group of about 100 students was drinking “hard alcohol and beer.” They were gathered at the Washington Park Arboretum, and several of them shouted profanities as they ran away, including one who tossed a racial slur at Howard. At least one fender bender occurred nearby, caused by the fleeing students running in front of cars, Howard said.

Comments | More in Education, The Blotter | Topics: Garfield High School, hazing, Seattle Police


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