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3 Rye teens charged in 'Freshman Friday' hazing

June 5, 2012 2:23:34 PM PDT
Three Westchester County high school students are facing criminal charges for alleged hazing, and police are widening the investigation.

Authorities are asking other possible victims to come forward after the arrest of the Rye High School students.

Sean Pinson and Tristan Scragg, both 17, and 16-year-old Max Meyerson are charged as adults with hazing, assault and unlawful imprisonment.

Police say they confronted several 8th graders who will be freshmen at the school next year and forced them into a car on Friday.

They allegedly drove to them to a wooded area and beat two of the victims with a paddle.

Investigators say there were welts and bruises, and the beating seemed to go on for awhile. That's why the felony assault was charged.

The alleged incident is part of what students at the school refer to as Freshman Friday, where incoming students are targeted.

Some students told Eyewitness News that the ritual is common knowledge among the students.

"It's been happening for a number of years," one student said. "They don't usually do anything about it, the cops."

Parents who are hearing about the incident aren't surprised that police are now involved.

"If it did happen, the police should be right on top of it," one parent said.

The Rye schools superintendent sent an e-mail to parents Monday night, saying the school takes the situation very seriously and the students face severe disciplinary consequences at the school, as well as in the legal system.

Here is the full text of the letter:

Dear parents,

This evening, we were informed that Westchester County police have charged three Rye teenagers - all juniors at Rye High School - with unlawful imprisonment, assault, and hazing in an incident last Friday afternoon at the Village Green and Marshland Conservancy. The acts were allegedly committed against several Rye Middle School 8th graders.

As superintendent of schools, and speaking for the principals of Rye Middle School and Rye High School, we are greatly disturbed by these allegations. We share our deep concern to the alleged victims and their families. Though this incident occurred outside of the school day and off school grounds, we must stress that there is, quite simply, no place in our schools or society for violent acts like those that have been alleged.

While this is, first and foremost, a serious legal matter for the young men who have been arrested, these students will also face severe disciplinary consequences as students of the Rye public schools.

Some have suggested that these alleged acts are part of an annual 'tradition' at Rye High School. Let me be clear: just because a small handful of students choose to believe that this is the case, does not make it a fact. Our school district and our educators put a premium on student safety, respect, and dignity, and work diligently each day to inspire these traits in our students.

We will provide more information on this serious matter as we learn more of the details. Thank you for your patience and understanding.

Sincerely,

Dr. Edward J. Shine ---
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