Bullying at Alhambra Leads to Suspension

Tamar McCollom

In the last week of September, seven members of the Alhambra High School freshmen football team were suspended amid allegations of hazing a teammate.

Before practice on Sept. 29, a group of boys taped their teammate’s legs together, held him down on the locker room floor, and punched him repeatedly for roughly two minutes. The boys then returned to practice without informing their coach of the incident.

The victim  told his parents, who alerted school administrators the following day. The perpetrators were identified by a cell phone video taken during the incident. One of the boys allegedly planned to upload the video to YouTube.

“There was no physical injury, but certainly the kid’s feelings were hurt. There was certainly some emotional injury to the kid knowing that his teammates would do this to him,” said Assistant Superintendent Rick Rubino in the Contra Costa Times.

All seven players who were involved were suspended, confirms Rubino. Six of those students served five day suspensions and were dismissed from the freshmen football team.  One student faced a one day suspension, but was allowed to remain on the team. One of the suspended students may face expulsion.

Martinez Police Commander Gary Peterson has confirmed that they have opened a criminal investigation.

The Alhambra varsity boys’ football team has felt the aftershocks of the hazing incident. “They were pretty shook up. It has affected the whole program,” said an anonymous student at Alhambra.

Miramonte varsity football coach John Wade said, “We hope that a similar situation wouldn’t occur at Miramonte.  The coaches stress having respect for each other. We don’t want an incident like this to be a part of the Miramonte football culture.”
Alhambra High School is working towards preventing bullying incidents  in the future by increasing the supervision of both the boys’ and girls’ locker rooms. They plan to employ adult supervisors to monitor the locker rooms after school during athletic practices.
Students at Alhambra can feel the increased presence of the administration on campus. “Security is so much tighter. There are more administrators everywhere,” said another anonymous student at Alhambra.
Despite these efforts, students claim that students have transferred to other schools. “Some kids have definitely transferred to private high schools,” said a third anonymous student.
On Oct. 12, Alhambra held a parent/student workshop on bullying led by anti-bullying expert Steve DeWarns. Alhambra will also provide sensitivity and anti-bullying training for the freshman boys’ football team and eventually the rest of the student body.
“While it was unfortunate that this incident occurred, we are pleased to report that no one was physically hurt,” said Rubino.