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8 EGR marching band drummers suspended for spitting on freshman

4:01 PM, Oct 27, 2006   |    comments
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East Grand Rapids - The drum line played shorthanded at a concert by the East Grand Rapids High School Band and Orchestra Thursday night. Eight drummers are suspended for spitting on a freshman in the band. "I'm absolutely surprised," says Debbie Lange, the mother of a band member. "It's just not to be tolerated." The hazing was observed by a band teacher after the home football game Friday night. He says eight members of the drum line surrounded a freshman band member behind the bleachers and spit on him. "I was in shock when my daughter told me what happened," says Lisa Huston. Her daughter is in the drum line but was not involved in the spitting. "That's like the most demeaning horrible thing you could do to somebody." The school principal calls the spitting a one time act of outrageous behavior. But the suspended drummers claim they were observing a tradition. Spitting, they say, is a trational way to initiate a younger member into the band. "They circle somebody, get in a circle, this is what I understand," says Lisa Huston. "It's a freshman or underclassman. They spit on that person." The eight drummers involved in the spitting are suspended from school for three days. They cannot perform with the marching band or participate in any extra curricular activities for the rest of the semester. The students must also attend a decision making workshop. "Our band dirctor and our school does not tolerate that kind of behavior," says Debbie Lange. "We work as a team and show respect for each other." "Hopefully this will never happen again," says Lisa Huston.

Phil Dawson

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