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Soccer Initiation? Why does this feel wrong to me?


SKL
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Just now, Katy said:

The humiliation among kids isn’t new, the 24/7 social media is. If the point is online humiliation, it’s at best hazing, and at worst bullying.  I wouldn’t assume it was anything but a team building night though, especially because the coach called first.

I’m a little surprised at how few of you had activities like this in school.  We had lock ins for sports, church groups, music department events, and even all night camping after plays. My school had post-homecoming and post-prom, supervised events until 5am. 

Honestly there was a lot more trouble with unsupervised kids at the local mega church. One of the pastor’s kids got a key and there were all sorts of illegal and immoral behaviors going on during Wednesday & Sunday night services.  I would have far less worries about adult supervised events assuming I trusted DD, she wanted to go, and she had a cell phone to call me.

Oh. I had experience with this stuff back in my teens. That’s why I think they are best done away with regardless of the source.

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1 minute ago, Katy said:

The humiliation among kids isn’t new, the 24/7 social media is. If the point is online humiliation, it’s at best hazing, and at worst bullying.  I wouldn’t assume it was anything but a team building night though, especially because the coach called first.

I’m a little surprised at how few of you had activities like this in school.  We had lock ins for sports, church groups, music department events, and even all night camping after plays. My school had post-homecoming and post-prom, supervised events until 5am. 

Honestly there was a lot more trouble with unsupervised kids at the local mega church. One of the pastor’s kids got a key and there were all sorts of illegal and immoral behaviors going on during Wednesday & Sunday night services.  I would have far less worries about adult supervised events assuming I trusted DD, she wanted to go, and she had a cell phone to call me.

I'd be happy to let my kid participate in any of the bolded.  

There's no way I can see adults knowingly allowing kids to break the law, or adults entering the bedrooms of sleeping children, in the same category as any of those things. 

I wouldn't consider an adult whose boundaries were this poor to be an appropriate chaperone for kids.  

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Just now, Katy said:

The humiliation among kids isn’t new, the 24/7 social media is. If the point is online humiliation, it’s at best hazing, and at worst bullying.  I wouldn’t assume it was anything but a team building night though, especially because the coach called first.

I’m a little surprised at how few of you had activities like this in school.  We had lock ins for sports, church groups, music department events, and even all night camping after plays. My school had post-homecoming and post-prom, supervised events until 5am. 

Honestly there was a lot more trouble with unsupervised kids at the local mega church. One of the pastor’s kids got a key and there were all sorts of illegal and immoral behaviors going on during Wednesday & Sunday night services.  I would have far less worries about adult supervised events assuming I trusted DD, she wanted to go, and she had a cell phone to call me.

I had lots of late night school sponsored events. We had lock-ins, camping trips, field trips where we didn't get home until the wee hours. I have no issues with that. I even got rides to and from a few events from my teacher. I know that wouldn't fly today, but it was ok then. 

It's the plan to enter people's homes late at night and that the coach didnt seem fully aware of all the plans. And there's no permission slips? And it's illegal for the teens to be driving late at night? No, this is a bad idea. 

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10 minutes ago, BaseballandHockey said:

I'd be happy to let my kid participate in any of the bolded.  

There's no way I can see adults knowingly allowing kids to break the law, or adults entering the bedrooms of sleeping children, in the same category as any of those things. 

I wouldn't consider an adult whose boundaries were this poor to be an appropriate chaperone for kids.  

We don’t know that the coach isn’t driving or that the drivers aren’t 18.  We don’t know any of this.  It’s the parents who are going along with (or ignoring completely) the idea to let it be a surprise, and the parents who are letting people in.  None of this is illegal unless the drivers are too young.  Don’t get me wrong, I would never let my child be surprised by this, but I would (after talking more with the coach) probably let it happen.  If you don’t trust the coach and team for something like this she shouldn’t be on the team at all.  I’d worry more about away games than this. 

5 minutes ago, MissLemon said:

I had lots of late night school sponsored events. We had lock-ins, camping trips, field trips where we didn't get home until the wee hours. I have no issues with that. I even got rides to and from a few events from my teacher. I know that wouldn't fly today, but it was ok then. 

It's the plan to enter people's homes late at night and that the coach didnt seem fully aware of all the plans. And there's no permission slips? And it's illegal for the teens to be driving late at night? No, this is a bad idea. 

If the parents let the kids in it isn’t illegal.  If the seniors are over 18 or the coach is driving it isn’t illegal.  This all comes down to the OP feeling icky about it.  And while I wouldn’t tell a parent to ignore a true gut feeling I haven’t heard anything icky here that couldn’t be cleared up with a phone call. I would be very concerned with having DD be excluded from this if she’s going to continue on the team though.  Not going will be ostracizing. 

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26 minutes ago, Murphy101 said:

I think that’s…. Naive?… at best. Teens are experts are being humiliated and humiliating others seemingly without any effort no matter what the pajamas or makeup.

I’m so unbelievably grateful my teens were pre-social media and that my own kids don’t get social media access until 16/17. And by then most of them haven’t wanted it. It’s a cruel vicious world for teens out there. 

Only if she has had a background check and been approved? I would think?  I know *I* have been but I’m not allowed to let other adults stay in a helper/chaperone/authority capacity at school or church sponsored events unless they have been background checked and passed virtus or whatever the secular school system equivalent is (I forget the name of it here). At the child literacy non-profit group my husband is in the board of - this is true too. Even the people who dress up as spider-man for a party event have to have passed a background check and taken an approved child protection course.

I had a few people I was working with last weekend get their knickers in a twist about the policy bc “back in their day” people didn’t live in fear or teach their kids to live in fear like this.

To which I responded that the adults of the 50s-80s is literally exactly why these policies were developed.

Point taken about chaperones needing to be approved. I think of there is only one chaperone there, though, there is no way I would leave any of the kids there. That is a huge, giant, waving red flag with a warning beacon on top. A lot can be determined by asking to stay - such as maybe there are five chaperones, but maybe there is only one chaperone and the coach is fine ignoring basic safety requirements. Reputable coaches want to be above board - they want the accountability of having at least one other non-related adult present. 

 

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To clarify, this is one whole group that includes both varsity and JV.  In general, the younger girls are JV and the older ones are varsity.  The seniors are initiating all of the 9th & 10th grade players.

(Maybe they would have done my kid's grade last year if Covid hadn't been a factor.  I have no idea.  We were new to this school population last year & really still are, thanks to Covid.)

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16 minutes ago, Katy said:

We don’t know that the coach isn’t driving or that the drivers aren’t 18.

SkL has confirmed that there are 4 drivers and 4 cars, with the coach as one of them, and that they'd be going separately to different houses.  She's also confirmed that it's illegal in her state. 

16 minutes ago, Katy said:

We don’t know any of this.  It’s the parents who are going along with (or ignoring completely) the idea to let it be a surprise, and the parents who are letting people in.  None of this is illegal unless the drivers are too young.  

My comment about illegality was in reference to the drivers, but certainly in any school district where I've taught, or where my kids have been enrolled, a staff member driving students without a permission slip, a staff member entering the bedroom of a sleeping child would be cause for termination.  Both those things are very clearly communicated.  

Hazing is also forbidden in most school districts.  

 

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1 minute ago, BaseballandHockey said:

SkL has confirmed that there are 4 drivers and 4 cars, with the coach as one of them, and that they'd be going separately to different houses.  She's also confirmed that it's illegal in her state. 

My comment about illegality was in reference to the drivers, but certainly in any school district where I've taught, or where my kids have been enrolled, a staff member driving students without a permission slip, a staff member entering the bedroom of a sleeping child would be cause for termination.  Both those things are very clearly communicated.  

Hazing is also forbidden in most school districts.  

 

I can't remember an extracurricular activity I participated in where a coach didn't end up driving a group of students somewhere, and the permission slip was in the parents consenting to the activity.  There did not need to be an individual slip for each event on the schedule.

I agree if this is hazing it is problematic, but that seems more like a worry than a surety, especially because the first thing communicated was that it wasn't hazing.

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6 minutes ago, Katy said:

 

I agree if this is hazing it is problematic, but that seems more like a worry than a surety, especially because the first thing communicated was that it wasn't hazing.

All that tells us is that the coach doesn't understand what hazing is.

Which in of itself is problematic.

 

Edited by wathe
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5 minutes ago, Katy said:

I can't remember an extracurricular activity I participated in where a coach didn't end up driving a group of students somewhere, and the permission slip was in the parents consenting to the activity.  There did not need to be an individual slip for each event on the schedule.

Things have changed, and unfortunately they've changed because lots of young people were hurt.  

Here's the thing.  The lines are drawn more clearly now.  And they're drawn so that there's space between the line and actual harm to the students.   There are absolutely activities, like coaches driving students, that used to be acceptable and now aren't.  Those changes were made for good reasons.  One of those reasons is that it teaches kids to have appropriate boundaries and to be alarmed when adults push past them.  Another is that it makes it more likely that adults whose intentions are bad will be caught before they do harm to children. 

As a teacher, even if I know that I am not going to harm a child, even if my intention is just to get that child home safely, I don't cross those lines.  Because I know that by doing so, I can wear down kids' boundaries, and help obscure the behavior of the people who really need to be caught.

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2 minutes ago, BaseballandHockey said:

The board is really wonky for me tonight.  Please excuse the double post.

It's wonky for everyone.  I posted the thing you responded to, which didn't post for me, but then showed up when you responded to it, and my second attempt didn't.

I assume because you're in a more metro area and we're in a more rural area that the coaches never driving thing hasn't trickled down yet. It probably will.  Right now it's more of a buddy system at the schools we've had anything to do with, an adult can drive, but not one-on-one.  And the other differences might be rural vs urban too.  In a rural area overnight activities are probably much more common.  DH was just saying that the goal is to prevent drunk driving here, but kids are going to have to drive, so it's better to clear with the school & police & just plan it overnight, because uber is not an option.

I still think a lot of this could be cleared up by asking the coach.

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Just now, Katy said:

It's wonky for everyone.  I posted the thing you responded to, which didn't post for me, but then showed up when you responded to it, and my second attempt didn't.

I assume because you're in a more metro area and we're in a more rural area that the coaches never driving thing hasn't trickled down yet. It probably will.  Right now it's more of a buddy system at the schools we've had anything to do with, an adult can drive, but not one-on-one.  And the other differences might be rural vs urban too.  In a rural area overnight activities are probably much more common.  DH was just saying that the goal is to prevent drunk driving here, but kids are going to have to drive, so it's better to clear with the school & police & just plan it overnight, because uber is not an option.

I still think a lot of this could be cleared up by asking the coach.

But the coach was clear that she plans to be one of the people going from house to house, and so at least in the beginning she will be one on one with a kid in the car.   A coach driving a group of kids, that would be different, although here they'd still need permission slips. 

We have overnight activities in the big city, and the goal is also to keep kids off the streets at 1:25 a.m., although it's not just about drunk driving.  But a coach sending kids out to drive to people's houses at 1:25 isn't in keeping with that goal.  The appropriate overnight activities we have start before night fall and end after sunrise.  

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1 minute ago, BaseballandHockey said:

But the coach was clear that she plans to be one of the people going from house to house, and so at least in the beginning she will be one on one with a kid in the car.   A coach driving a group of kids, that would be different, although here they'd still need permission slips. 

We have overnight activities in the big city, and the goal is also to keep kids off the streets at 1:25 a.m., although it's not just about drunk driving.  But a coach sending kids out to drive to people's houses at 1:25 isn't in keeping with that goal.  The appropriate overnight activities we have start before night fall and end after sunrise.  

Is the coach a parent of someone on the team?  Or do two members live at one address?  Because either would be a way around that rule.

I agree dusk to dawn is more appropriate timing, but would miss out on the highly questionable "fun" surprise.

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9 minutes ago, Katy said:

I can't remember an extracurricular activity I participated in where a coach didn't end up driving a group of students somewhere, and the permission slip was in the parents consenting to the activity.  There did not need to be an individual slip for each event on the schedule.

I agree if this is hazing it is problematic, but that seems more like a worry than a surety, especially because the first thing communicated was that it wasn't hazing.

Here it’s a permission slip for every event. It lists the cleared adults in charge, transporting arrangements, and the event. 

And the rule is TWO cleared adults for every so many minors within certain ages have to be present. So no. A teacher, a coach, a youth group leader - whatever - is not supposed to be alone with the minors. It isn’t even a question of worry about if something will happen. It flat out removes the possible scandal from being a possibility.  And that’s best for everyone’s interests.

I’m cleared via four different organizations and multiple state and federal background checks and I still am not allowed to solo teach RE to 8 children between the ages of 3-6. I have to have a cleared assistant. If she calls in sick? No RE that day.  If I’m giving a ride to kids for a youth function? Their parent can drop them off at the church and all the kids get in the van at the same time so that no one has to be alone together.

I thought that after all the sex crimes of teachers, preachers, coaches and more - that these rules were becoming the social standard expectation? I’m really surprised and saddened that it hasn’t.

And yeah. Most of the time things go just fine. But take that court case referenced by a pp. That ONE poor girl ended up wanting to die from how she was treated. But the boys who did it? And all those boys and the other girls there and did nothing? Just a good old fashioned fun party night for them. And their parents are all standing behind them pissed that their kid’s life is being inconvenienced by people calling out the wrongness of the entire thing. All hazers think they are good people just living normal fun lives.

The fact that the messaging has to say it’s not hazing is probably a flag that it is. Like someone being racist and then saying they know that sounded racist but they’re really not.  Usually yeah, they really are and even they know how bad it sounds.  

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1 minute ago, Katy said:

Is the coach a parent of someone on the team?  Or do two members live at one address?  Because either would be a way around that rule.

SKL clarified that the coach is in her early 20's so not a parent of a 14 or 15 year old.  Also that she didn't know the plan until SKL texted and asked her about it.  So, I'm skeptical.  

1 minute ago, Katy said:

I agree dusk to dawn is more appropriate timing, but would miss out on the highly questionable "fun" surprise.

But you can't then justify the activity as being to keep kids off the road.  

Sorry, I know I'm getting kind of strident.  Child protection in schools is a passion of mine.  The population I teach is so vulnerable, and abused at such alarmingly high levels, that I am very sensitive to this dynamic, and this is raising so many red flags for me.  

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6 minutes ago, BaseballandHockey said:

Sorry, I know I'm getting kind of strident.  Child protection in schools is a passion of mine.  The population I teach is so vulnerable, and abused at such alarmingly high levels, that I am very sensitive to this dynamic, and this is raising so many red flags for me.  

I don't think you're getting strident.  I appreciate the education.

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34 minutes ago, BaseballandHockey said:

SkL has confirmed that there are 4 drivers and 4 cars, with the coach as one of them, and that they'd be going separately to different houses.  She's also confirmed that it's illegal in her state. 

My comment about illegality was in reference to the drivers, but certainly in any school district where I've taught, or where my kids have been enrolled, a staff member driving students without a permission slip, a staff member entering the bedroom of a sleeping child would be cause for termination.  Both those things are very clearly communicated.  

Hazing is also forbidden in most school districts.  

 

Our 4H liability insurance would not cover us driving a vehicle alone with a minor. All parents had to sign off on transportation. So at the beginning of each season of rocket team, we had each parent sign a transportation permission slip that covered the season with beginning and ending dates. We could not transport a minor until those were filed with the extension office. Each vehicle had two adults no exceptions.

Most schools in our area also have a no students driving other unrelated students to and from a school authorized activity. So students cannot carpool to school in order to prevent violation of the law on minors driving as well as not having students in charge of other students in vehicles. Saves a lot of grief.

Hazing and initiation are forbidden. Coaches and teachers can have a simple, welcome party with or activities at the school if it is pre-approved by the administration and has the proper number of school sanctioned chaperones. Violations are quite unwise. 

I am not sure what this coach is thinking, common sense out the door.

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1 hour ago, Katy said:

It's wonky for everyone.  I posted the thing you responded to, which didn't post for me, but then showed up when you responded to it, and my second attempt didn't.

I assume because you're in a more metro area and we're in a more rural area that the coaches never driving thing hasn't trickled down yet. It probably will.  Right now it's more of a buddy system at the schools we've had anything to do with, an adult can drive, but not one-on-one.  And the other differences might be rural vs urban too.  In a rural area overnight activities are probably much more common.  DH was just saying that the goal is to prevent drunk driving here, but kids are going to have to drive, so it's better to clear with the school & police & just plan it overnight, because uber is not an option.

I still think a lot of this could be cleared up by asking the coach.

I grew up in a very rural area, but I don’t recall a single instance of a coach or teacher driving me or anyone else anywhere, and I was involved in multiple sports, theater, band, etc. We had busses for everything. Very few kids had cars and parents generally did not take kids to or from activities, games, etc. Almost everyone rode the bus.

Even when only a few athletes qualified for the state tack meet, they rode on a bus with the coach and a driver. One summer when only two of us from my hometown were on the softball team, the school paid me to drive us to practice in the town where our high school was located.

Edited to add that I was 18 at the time and had graduated, as my state allowed students to play five years of varsity softball and baseball from the summer after eighth grade to the summer after graduation.

Edited by Frances
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2 hours ago, hshibley said:

I would not assume that a majority of the seniors on the team were under 18. If she’s playing varsity she’s probably one of a couple freshman and sophomores. At least half the seniors are probably 18 and most likely most of the varsity team are seniors. I think this is the disadvantage of playing varsity as a freshman you are much younger than the rest of the team 14 vs 18. It’s a huge difference. My dd would not be thrilled with this event, but if this is the team mentality your dd needs to decide if these are the type of people she wants to hang out with. My dd played varsity soccer freshman and sophomore year and then quit. They were just not girls that she shared a lot in common. She made close friends on the xc team and ran all 4 years. 

Interesting.  Here the cut off for kindergarten has the oldest kids turning 18 in September of Senior year.  So, any kid who is 18 now is redshirted and while that absolutely happens, it’s more boys than girls and not the majority even among boys.

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Oh well, in the end my kid refused to go.  While I feel sorry that she is missing an opportunity to build relationships, I also don't really blame her.  I texted that she didn't feel well.  Kinda glad it's over for us.

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2 hours ago, BaseballandHockey said:

Interesting.  Here the cut off for kindergarten has the oldest kids turning 18 in September of Senior year.  So, any kid who is 18 now is redshirted and while that absolutely happens, it’s more boys than girls and not the majority even among boys.

Same here, except the oldest kids turn 18 in October of senior year if they weren't held back.  While it is possible that all the drivers are 18+, I have good reason to doubt it.

And even if they are all barely 18 ... I still don't love the idea of teens driving a bunch of teens around in the middle of the night.  They are still not showing terrific judgment with their plans to walk into unlocked homes and surprise unwitting underclassmen.

Like I said, it just feels wrong, and I am not normally an overprotective mom.

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41 minutes ago, SKL said:

Oh well, in the end my kid refused to go.  While I feel sorry that she is missing an opportunity to build relationships, I also don't really blame her.  I texted that she didn't feel well.  Kinda glad it's over for us.

She might be missing one opportunity to build relationships but she will have an opportunity to build them more organically during practices.  (And if for some reason it doesn't go well, then she will have avoided that as well.) 

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Count me as another one who is surprised and would be alarmed at this scenario.  I applaud you as a mom for how you handled this with your daughter and I don't blame her one bit for not going.  I hope that she has a positive experience with the team this year and makes some good friends.  

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5 hours ago, SKL said:

Oh well, in the end my kid refused to go.  While I feel sorry that she is missing an opportunity to build relationships, I also don't really blame her.  I texted that she didn't feel well.  Kinda glad it's over for us.

I’m glad she made that decision.

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I won't comment on the rest of it, but here coaches have definitely driven kids.  Some of the high school sports teams have to drive to get from the school to their field or practice facility.  The kids divide up between whatever cars are there.  If there aren't enough drivers, a parent with a van may pick up a load or the kids ride with coaches.  There aren't any permission slips.  I'd guess it's assumed that if you don't want your kid to ride you'll pick them up yourself, since that is always an option.  The coach sends out the next day's schedule and tells you where to be when, so I think that if you don't drive your own kid it's assumed that you are OK with them getting there with whatever driver they ride with.  

As for how age lines up with grades...I know that last year several of the sophomores could drive for most of the year, and most are driving by the end of the school year.  So, I'd expect that some of the kids are 18 fairly early in the school year and most are 18 by the end.  This varies a lot by state, though - I was just talking to a mom who was new to our state and, due to cut-offs in her previous state, her kid was doing to be a year...older or younger, I don't remember which...than many of their classmates.  

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13 hours ago, Katy said:

The humiliation among kids isn’t new, the 24/7 social media is. If the point is online humiliation, it’s at best hazing, and at worst bullying.  I wouldn’t assume it was anything but a team building night though, especially because the coach called first.

I’m a little surprised at how few of you had activities like this in school.  We had lock ins for sports, church groups, music department events, and even all night camping after plays. My school had post-homecoming and post-prom, supervised events until 5am. 

Honestly there was a lot more trouble with unsupervised kids at the local mega church. One of the pastor’s kids got a key and there were all sorts of illegal and immoral behaviors going on during Wednesday & Sunday night services.  I would have far less worries about adult supervised events assuming I trusted DD, she wanted to go, and she had a cell phone to call me.

We had things like this when I was a kid. I never did sports, but youth group stuff, sure. To me what's different here is the we're going to come at 1 in the morning and sneak into your house while everyone is asleep and take your kid that's the most off. And by off, I mean way, way off. I went to lock ins as a kid but I always went of my own free will having planned to be there and knowing more or less what was in store. Even times that someone did a surprise thing when I was younger - like I mentioned that there were some things like that when I was in college - you knew the surprise was coming. There was a lot of "we can't tell you, ooh it's scary! no, really, it's not, yeah, don't worry, it's just a few hours long, be here at such and such a time." 

I'm not personally bothered by coaches or older teens driving - as long as parents have okayed it. I'm also not that fussed about being up late - but again, that's why people should have the ability to, you know, plan for that.

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8 hours ago, SKL said:

Oh well, in the end my kid refused to go.  While I feel sorry that she is missing an opportunity to build relationships, I also don't really blame her.  I texted that she didn't feel well.  Kinda glad it's over for us.

I'm sorry.

 She's an indirect victim of hazing. It's really not OK.  I'm angry on her behalf.

An inclusive, respectful, welcome to the team event would have been so much better.

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1 hour ago, wathe said:

I'm sorry.

 She's an indirect victim of hazing. It's really not OK.  I'm angry on her behalf.

An inclusive, respectful, welcome to the team event would have been so much better.

I’m glad she decided not to go, but sad that they didn’t have a nice, normal event for the kids, when they weren’t exhausted and sleep deprived and driven around by teens at 1:30 in the morning. That’s just so goofy. The drivers would have been up all day and half the night. Sleep deprived drivers are as dangerous as drunk drivers. 

So…I’m glad your daughter stayed home, OP. And I think the young coach is lacking in good judgement.

Edited by Garga
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4 hours ago, wathe said:

I'm sorry.

 She's an indirect victim of hazing. It's really not OK.  I'm angry on her behalf.

An inclusive, respectful, welcome to the team event would have been so much better.

Yes. I don't know why so many groups feel like they have to do extreme things in order to bond/have fun... be cool?  I don't know. 

Just a guess, but the young coach probably sees this stuff as normal, because it has become normal in some circles. And people who find this kind of thing fun are almost always [edit: often, at least in my experience] the kind of people who don't stop to think that maybe not everyone is going to be OK with it, or find it fun.  I'm not talking about narcissism, but just the inability to think outside one's own experiences and preferences. 

Edited by marbel
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3 hours ago, pinball said:

@SKL

any update? Has your daughter had practice or spoke with anyone on the team since the team get-together?

Yeah, all seems fine.  One or two girls asked her why she wasn't there, and she said she had bad period cramps.  She said nobody slept the whole night, so she was glad she didn't go, because she was already exhausted before the event started.  She said a few other girls did not attend, but most did, and they had a good time, but she was still glad she didn't go.  In fact, she was in a great mood after last night's practice, as if a weight had been lifted off her shoulders.

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27 minutes ago, SKL said:

Yeah, all seems fine.  One or two girls asked her why she wasn't there, and she said she had bad period cramps.  She said nobody slept the whole night, so she was glad she didn't go, because she was already exhausted before the event started.  She said a few other girls did not attend, but most did, and they had a good time, but she was still glad she didn't go.  In fact, she was in a great mood after last night's practice, as if a weight had been lifted off her shoulders.

That is awesome.  You both made the right call!  

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