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Upper St. Clair Hazing Videos, Pictures Reveal Pain, Welts, Laughing

The paddling may be done by upperclassmen as part of an 'initiation' ceremony.

Billie Williams, parent of a paddling victim, speaking at Upper St. Clair police headquarters on Friday afternoon. Credit: Robert Edward Healy, III
Billie Williams, parent of a paddling victim, speaking at Upper St. Clair police headquarters on Friday afternoon. Credit: Robert Edward Healy, III
UPDATE (Friday, 6:45 p.m.): One Upper St. Clair parent has shared her story (on video) with Patch. You can see and hear her five-minute interview above.

UPDATE (Friday, 2:30 p.m.):
Patch Editor Bob Healy watched some of the paddling videos on Friday. Two videos showed boys being struck on the naked buttocks with a long and wide stick. It is not clear what kind of stick this was.

The victims appeared to be in pain, with one of them letting out a loud grunt after being struck a second time. A small crowd of boys can be heard on the videos laughing after the paddling.

Healy also viewed multiple photos of injuries. The photos showed numerous bruises, redness and welts.

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UPPER ST. CLAIR, PA - Several parents have made complaints to the Upper St. Clair Township Police Department, alleging that their sons have been victims of an initiation ceremony that involves incoming Upper St. Clair High School freshmen being spanked by upperclassmen.

The incidents are being filmed and shared by those conducting the spankings, the parents say.

One mother said that her daughter is now in possession of one of the videos and has watched it. The mother cannot bring herself to watch the video, though, she said. The mother said that boys' pants are being pulled down before being paddled by hockey sticks.

"There is a video. My daughter looked at it. I, physically, cannot look at it ... because it makes me physically ill," the mother said.

Patch is not reporting some parents' names—at their wish—so as to protect the identity of victims.

"I can confirm that we have had some complaints registered with us from a number of parents—probably best described as a handful or so of parents—at this time," Upper St. Clair police Lt. James Englert said on Thursday, "who have raised this issue of some potential initiation, if you will, or harassment, paddling of their incoming freshmen boys by upperclassmen within the (Upper St. Clair) School District.

"It's all new information. For the most part, we are delving into it right now to take a little bit of time to talk to people additionally and see just what the scope of it is, how widespread it is, how involved it is. And we'll be working with these parents and young people to make a decision on how it's going to be handled ultimately."

Englert said that the paddling incidents "probably began towards the very end of the school year and may have continued after school was over for the year.

"We don't believe it's ongoing right now, but certainly, that's something that we'll be looking into, as well."

Multiple students who identified themselves as victims of the paddling were interviewed by police on Friday.

Englert said on Thursday that parents have shown police officers videos that show paddling incidents.

"Apparently, there is something to this," Englert said. "We have had a number of people come forward. If there are any more people who feel as though they were victimized by this matter, they can certainly feel free to call us (police), as well."

Upper St. Clair police can be reached at 412-833-7500.

School district Superintendent Patrick O'Toole issued the following statement via an emergency alert on Friday: "The district has learned of allegations of student hazing taking place this summer in the community.

"From the information gathered thus far, it appears there may have been incidents of senior students paddling entering freshmen. Both the USC Township police and the school district administration are investigating the allegations.

"The school district will work closely with local law enforcement, parents and students to address these allegations. The district has strong policies that address student harassment, including hazing, and will take appropriate action against any violators of these policies.

"We encourage anyone with information to contact Dr. (Michael) Ghilani—high school principal (412-833-1600, ext. 2829)—and the township police (412-833-7500)."

Those wishing to share their stories with Patch can contact Editor Bob Healy at 412-491-1179 or robert.healyiii@patch.com.
Purple Rider July 26, 2013 at 02:13 PM
New York Students Charged for Paddling Middle Schoolers in ... Three New York high school students face felony and misdemeanor charges in connection with the alleged hazing of eighth graders in their suburban town in ... abcnews.go.com/US/...schoolers-hazing-ritual/...id=16497980 More results from abcnews.go.com » Called Freshman Friday in this school community went on for years and the local police did nothing until one freshman landed in the hospital. It's Upper St. Clair's story already played out with the "what if's".
Joe Black July 26, 2013 at 06:02 PM
I am not sure why people think that it is okay for kids to threaten other kids with more future violence if those kids do not succumb to assault at that moment. What I am sure of is that if the aggressors, i.e., "kids being kids", were black kids from East Liberty having threatened more severe future violence to justify the current assault, the USC police and parents would be adamant that it was assault and that criminal punishment should be pursued. However, that's not the case here. Instead, we have kids from fairly well-off families resident in USC committing the crimes. And from their BMW-reckless driving parents, those kids assume it to be ok to be aggressive under the guise of "initiation" or "kids being kids". They think it's ok to make other kids drop their pants, beat them, video tape it, laugh and mock them. That it's ok to humiliate those kids above and beyond hurting them. Those are the same kinds of kids that go off to Duke or UVA and commit crimes against other people because they've not been taught appropriate behavior at home or in their community. IT NEEDS TO STOP - and the police need to do something other than policing tall grass or front yard parking bandits. Again, however, I am sure that if the "kids being kids" were black boys from East Liberty, it wouldn't be "kids being kids" but, instead, would be vicious criminals coming in from the hood committing crimes against "us". TO THE USC POLICE - DO YOUR JOB - make it safer for us and our kids. TO PARENTS WHO THINK IT'S OK - GET a clue, parent your kids today to prevent the next college-related crime by one of your well-off kids who are able to get away with so much at home but not when they enter the real world. Lastly, please remember that Dandelions are not flowers.
Purple Rider July 26, 2013 at 06:50 PM
Well said Joe Black. The story I referred to took place in Rye City School District Nationally ranked 61 Upper St. Clair 179 Only 4% economically disadvantaged. Us 3% 14% minority Us 10% Eerily the same. Swift action and severe consequences there...here nothing! Remorse...only one student out of many.
myword July 26, 2013 at 07:04 PM
Joe--you are absolutely spot on! @purple rider.....my dear, are you telling me that STILL since our meeting, and since charges have been filed, nothing has been done? To me, zero tolerance means swift and immediate, punishment. Agreed?
amanda johns July 27, 2013 at 11:23 PM
@purple rider you comment that only one out of many feels remorse, have you talked with all of the students accused?

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