Freshman Fridays at BHS
Are there other parents out there who have a problem with Freshman Fridays at Berkeley High? My son has been telling me about how some seniors throw eggs at Freshmen on Fridays, either at lunch when the Freshmen leave for lunch, or when the Freshmen are leaving the campus for the day. I understand that this occurs only off campus. My son is starting to sound very cavalier about this, saying that it is just a rite of passage and that I do not understand. Is that so? Or is it really a humiliating form of hazing that just adds to the Freshman stress? What do you all think? And can BHS do anything about this? Can parents?
Tired of all the unnecessary ugliness
My daughter is also a new freshman at BHS, and she reports that ''how to avoid eggs'' is the major topic of conversation. What a waste of time and energy. Sounds to me like unnecessary hazing, adding to the general stress caused by unresponsive counselors and incorrect schedules. Also, an egg was thrown at me once on a Berkeley street (I'm an adult) and it really hurt. BHS administrators should crack down. Is there anything we can do? Disappointed in BHS
While my kids (my son in particular) got involved in private food-throwing hijinks with his buddies in high school, organized humiliation targeting specific people is not hijinks - it is bullying. Look at the lessons these senior bullies are teaching: 1) it's OK to target specific people for ridicule and exclusion, 2) it's OK to act like a thug if you are in a superior (e.g. senior versus freshman) position, and 3) if a superior targets you, you have to take it. While you may not have this information, I'd also suggest investigating the racial, ethnic, disability status and gender makeup of those bullied. I think you will find there is a pattern to the choices made, since many bullies pick on the weak (disabled, special status students) or excluded (girls, minorities, impoverished), and that is not acceptable. Finally, think of the message with regard to our limited world resources we are sending these kids, in that it is OK to treat food as garbage while most of the world lives on less than $2 per day and live with hunger. One egg a day would be a godsend to these people, and these bullies are throwing them away? Instead of this tradition, how much more satisfying would it be for the entire senior class to pool that ''egg money'' into a contribution to help a poor community in Africa? These are seniors, not toddlers, and many of them have reached 18. They should be treated like adults, and reprimanded when they act like vicious children. Lynne
My daughter deeply resented Freshman Fridays at BHS, and I found very little relief by telephoning or e-mailing or snail-mailing anyone there. If you and your child feel strongly about this, one or the other of you (or both) should visit Jim Slemp and other head staff--vice principals, counselors, etc.--IN PERSON and complain. Melanie
I actually think it's kind of outrageous. My son had an egg thrown at him in the hallway that missed him but splattered all over.... who do they think is going to clean that mess up? Also, it took him until 6 o'clock before he could safely board the bus home (after multiple eggings, both on the way to the bus and even at the bus stop). Who parents these egg-throwers? If there are a dozen eggs missing from your fridge on a Friday, you might want to ask some questions. And, if my kid ever does this in any future year, I sure want to know about it. Meanwhile, we're taking the licence plate numbers of those cars, lent by parents, no doubt, from which eggs are hurling. Outraged BHS parent
My son was ''egged'' by kids in a car that followed the 65 bus last Friday and egged freshman as they got off. He was not happy about it--nor are we--and I've been told Freshman Friday goes on until November! Is that true?
I left a note for Dean of Students Ramos-- yes it's off campus--but I think school tolerance of such ''hi jinks'' relies too much on adolescent judgment to avoid things going too far--and we all know how great adolescent judgment can be... concerned mom
I have 6th grader and 8th grader girls. Last Friday, they were walking home from King and had eggs thrown at them on Colusa (I happened to be driving up behind them and witnessed it - the car was full of laughing high schoolers).
The Friday before, our neighborhood was egged extensively (cars) and homes were graffitied. Other parents are commenting that a tradition that used to be on Friday only has now escalated to every Friday until ''Spirit Week'', whenever that is.
This is the pits! I have no idea if these kids were from BHS, but obviously, there is a problem going on - I have never seen this level of egging before (have lived in the neighborhood for 12 years). Discouraged Mom of future BHSer
I think you need to start filing police reports. Throwing eggs at someone is a crime (at least misdemeanor asault if they miss and misdemeanor battery if they hit). If they were throwing rocks, the police and (I'm assuming) school administrators all over this. The school should be warning seniors that they risk having a criminal record (an 18-year- old is an adult) and serious consequences. Maybe someone (or someones) should, for example, tail the 65 bus some Friday and get the license plate of any car that eggs are thrown from. not trying to give legal advice, but ... sheesh
Freshman Fridays: Of course egging anyone is deplorable, on so many levels. But I'm curious what anyone thinks the BHS administration can or should do about incidents that happen off campus??
It's hard to imagine that BHS administration has any legal authorization, even if they wanted, over incidents that happen off campus (other than official BHS activities). Wouldn't calling the police be the place to start for any other form of assault?
The police do have the authority to monitor areas around bus stops or take into custody any perpetrators.If the police have enough notifications from parents, then they may direct some manpower to the problem, just as they do with jaywalking and illegal parent drop-offs/parking in the beginning of each school year.
If there's enough demand, the police will provide community meetings to address parent concerns and could include ideas on how to deal with hazing and other issues of urban safety that teens gaining independence need to know. The BHS Parent Resource Center is another source of help organizing this sort of thing.
While not denying the understandable dismay of those who have actually been egged, after 6 years of volunteering a lot at BHS, I know the urban-rumor mill of exaggeration is incredibly virulent there and often scares parents and students, especially freshmen, as all try to figure out what to believe. It's worth asking your child what first-hand knowledge they have, rather than believing what the friends all ''know''. And letting them know that the spreading the rumor adds to intimidation by bolstering any harassment message that might be out there. BHS parent
Egging is definitely done more by boys to boys. I think a limited number of kids are doing the driving around in cars part - it would probably be VERY effective to be taking their numbers and reporting them. You can remind your kids that silence is how bullies get away with bullying. F
From the Berkeley High School e-tree (I found it interesting that Berkeley Police caught Piedmont and Albany students throwing eggs):
This fall the number of incidents of older students hazing freshmen by throwing raw eggs at them on Fridays seems to be on the increase off of our campus. Parents should be aware that hazing is not tolerated on the Berkeley High campus. Unfortunately, we do not have control over what happens off campus. We have heard reports of students being egged on Shattuck, Solano and Marin Circle. We also have no influence over students from other schools--such as those from Albany and Piedmont High School who were recently caught by the Berkeley Police throwing eggs at our students. I have addressed the student body at Berkeley High on this issue. Our security officers are alert to the problem. If your student is concerned about being harassed, please suggest they stay on the Berkeley High campus during lunch on Fridays during the fall semester. Please have them be alert to their surroundings when they leave campus after school. Finally, if anything happens, please call our On Campus Intervention Office or the Berkeley Police to report the incident. Sincerely, Jim Slemp, Principal Berkeley High School
The egging is deplorable and by saying the kids should just stay on campus during lunch alludes to the principal condoning the action as opposed to taking a hard line stance. Since all kids have cell phones, they need to take a picture of the cars involved and the kids who harass them in the hallways of the school. At school where you wear uniforms, any act such as this even off campus is treated as if they are on campuf if they are wearing the school's uniform. People can be severly hurt and property damaged by egg throwing. Police should be policing better
I agree that egging is deplorable and that the kids and the cars should be reported. However in defense of Jim Slemp, there are 3500 kids at BHS and I don't know how he can oversee the entire student body, especially while they are off campus. I have a kid who is a junior and has never known or seen anyone involved in egging, so I believe it is a handful of kids we are talking about. Until the kids are caught and dealt with, I don't think staying on campus (or across the street in the park) is a horrible idea. BHS parent
My son is a freshman at BHS. Academically he is doing fair work, but adjusting to social aspects of high school he seems to be doing very well. We never have a problem getting him to go to school in the morning.
However, this past Friday, November 3, he was adamant that he would not to school because it was a special day, (spirit day, or homecoming??) and as a male freshman he said he was going to be "beat up" or "humiliated". No amount of convincing could change his mind. When I commented that the teachers and principal would not allow all 400 freshman boys to be beat and egged, he responded that the teachers and principal couldn't stop it, and that he would be locked in with the older classmates.
His fear was real.
After a long fight we gave up, and he did not attend school on that day. Can someone tell me what this was all about, and what did happen in school that day.
When my son was a freshman at BHS, he was 100 percent sure he was going to get egged and beat up during Spirit Week. Absolutely nothing happened to him. I advised him to stay with friends as much as possible and not look like a scared freshman - walk with confidence and look friendly. No problems. Both he and my daughter report that the hype is much, much worse than the reality. There may be a tiny bit of trouble but it is mostly a mind-game. That last day of Spirit week is a bit wild, though, and I doubt that he missed much serious schoolwork because they don't even let the kids bring backpacks for fear of problem substances or things brought in, and they run a shortened schedule so they can have a rally. I remember my son't first orientation at BHS, when he learned there was a health center. He was so relieved to know there was medical help to put him back together after getting creamed but it never happened. Barbara
My son also tried to pull the same thing. I made him go to school. His argument was that none of his friends were going to attend school that day. That he was afraid to attend because he was going to be "egged" and harassed for being a freshman. After telling him that he had nothing to fear ( he is 6'0 195lbs), I assured him that most of his friends would be attending school because I didn't believe that his friends parents would allow their children to use that as an excuse to miss school. He attended school and made plans to attend the football game that afternoon. What I did find disappointing was that he told me that many of the students were either drunk or stoned during the school day. He said that a lot of kids were out of control. He said he had a good time at school and looked forward to being a part of spirit week next year. I am glad I made him go. Don
Regarding Hazing at Berkeley High: During Homecoming Week which was Oct. 30-NOv. 3, the various classes get very spirited, and unfortunately mischievous things happen to the freshman. Not all freshman experience hazing, or upper classman pranks, but there are some. The last day of Homecoming or Spirit week is called Spirit Day. It is quite a rowdy day at the campus. There is a lot of drinking and smoking on and off campus during the school day. It is a "tradition" at Berkeley high. Some students get caught and are suspended. The administration is very aware of the activities. My experience with this week after 4 years of it, is that the administration doesn't communicate with the parents about what goes on during Spirit week to prepare parents about what may be happening among the students. The other difficulty is that parents don't want to believe that the drinking and drug use among high school students is that extensive or serious. And in fact, many parents accept it as part of their "rite of passage" as a teenager. This is similar to parents not really checking on parent presence at parties, or parents not really knowing where their teens are.....We all want our children to grow up, be independent, and not be sheltered....however, we all have a responsibility to ensure our children being in safe environments. I was actually outraged when I become aware of the drinking on campus during Spirit Day (in fact the students made a documentary of it), and the administration simply said that it was a tradition that happens every year. From that point on, I really didn't want my child to go to school on Spirit Day. Anonymous
My children also begged in terror to stay home on Spirit Day. I let them. Now, four years later, they can't remember a single incident of a freshman ever getting egged, except for one kid who was egged by his older brother. I have talked to them sternly about not doing to other kids what they feared having done to themselves. However over the weekend I am ashamed to say that I found two cartons of eggs hidden in the back of one of their closets. When challenged, the guilty party claimed that since he didn't take them in to school, he is not guilty of anything. This tells me two things: 1) even nice kids perpetuate the meanness to freshmen and 2) the "no backpacks on Spirit Day" rule really does work.
I promise to all you parents of freshmen out there that I will do my utmost to make sure my kid does not harrass your kid and I apologize for any past transgressions.
Anonymous Guilt-filled Parent
I am responding to Danny in is Freshmen Hazing @ BHS comment.. Hello. I am also a ninth grader who attends BHS and i too stayed home that day. I heard from my freinds that there where many eggs thrown, but not at particular people. I am a girl, so I guess it wouldnt have been that as bad for anyway. But yes i do know what this is all about...@ BHS all of the upperclassmen like to show pride, and somwhow they think pride is showing how tough they are to the freshmen. I think really though that their bark is much bigger then their bite and they like to scare the ninth graders, but really its not that bad. I do think probably one or two freshmen did get hurt, but usually they say they pick on the cocky, conceited guys. i hope i can help! -caitlin