Mom denounces hazing of her teenage son

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KENMORE, Wash. — A Kenmore mother expressed anger Thursday after she says her 17-year-old son was assaulted in a high school hazing ritual.

hazing1Sara Walvatne’s son, James, had told her about the “Naked Vikings,” an unofficial group that dressed up and cheered at Inglemore High School football games.  He said they were some of the most popular kids at the school.

“The thing is, James really wanted to be in this club,” she said in an interview. “It was a badge of honor to cheer on the team for Inglemoor.”

According to the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office, James and six other high school juniors were taken to a field in nearby Bothell late Monday night for an initiation into the group.

“We were woken up in the middle of the night and it sounded like someone was staple-gunning someone,” said Bothell resident Jeannie Collier, who lives near the field. “It was really loud.”

“They brought out PVC pipes, golf clubs with the end cut off,” Walvatne added.

James did not want to talk on camera, but he did show the welts on his back.  His mother is trying to convince him to get medical care for them.

“That’s what they call initiation,” she said sarcastically. “Violence is not initiation, in my opinion. It’s assault.”

A Northshore School District spokesman said the district has a zero tolerance policy on hazing, and they will not allow the “Naked Vikings” on campus again.  He said the district is cooperating with Snohomish County sheriff’s investigators, who have identified five 18-year-olds as potential suspects.

But no charges have been filed, and James’ mother is concerned they may not be because her son and the other victims are not willing to testify against their friends. Her family is trying to convince James to change his mind.

“We just want him to do the right thing.  I mean, he was beat, he was beat up, brutally assaulted. That’s what I keep telling him: How could those be your friends?”

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    All students who participated in the 'hazing' aka: brutal assault should be prosecuted as an adult.
    Maybe in jail those young guys will learn first-hand what it's like to be 'hazed''. Hope really hope James cooperates with the police investigation so this won't happen to another student.

  • pete1427

    The code of silence that is mentioned in the article has been a
    problem for decades. Not just in the case of this school hazing,
    but to entire communities regarding violence.

  • rahrah1

    Wow that is horrible! I hope he cooperates with authorities and the thugs who beat him are prosecuted. That was a serious beating. I'd be really ticked too if I was him mom.

  • MattGMD

    These so-called "hazing rituals" are toubling for various reasons, but I am most concerned about the common denominator being violence. We the People go to great lengths to pretend we are not a violent society. While I respect this mother's position, I do hope she proceeds cautiously in re: demanding prosecution. Who is to say they wouldn't burn the family's house down one night for revenge? Plus he is 17, was a willing participant and mom should start letting him handle his battles.

    • Guess

      "Who is to say they wouldn't burn the family's house down one night for revenge?" Who is to say some random person you've never met won't burn your house down because of mental issues they have? If you live your entire life based on the chance that something MAY go wrong, you're not really living your life. They assaulted him just so he could cheer at football games with them. Assault is a criminal offense, as is hazing in general now in a lot of places; they're grown enough to know that. Ignorance of the law is no excuse for breaking the law.

  • pamitoo

    This young man definitely has a morale problem. If he is willing to let someone beat him so badly just to be "in", he's got more of a mental problem than anyone sees. I've never given a sh*t if someone likes me or not and I certainly wouldn't let someone beat me for no reason at all. I can just imagine what those little preppy snots who beat him are like. Hope this young man soon realizes that these dicks are not his friends. They just took advantage of him and are probably laughing behind his back.