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BHS: Freshman Fridays
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BHS: Freshman Fridays
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
cavalier about this, saying that it is just a rite of passage and that I do
understand. Is that so? Or is it really a humiliating form of hazing that
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.
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.
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...
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
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
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.
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.
From the Berkeley High School e-tree (I found it
interesting that Berkeley Police caught Piedmont and Albany
students throwing eggs):
A Message from Principal Jim Slemp
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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!
this page was last updated: Oct 17, 2008
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