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NY Students Arrested for 'Freshman Friday' Paddling

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By Andrew Chow, Esq. on June 06, 2012 7:06 AM

School's (almost) out for summer in Rye, N.Y., which apparently means one thing: an annual paddling ritual known as "Freshman Friday" -- which this year led to three arrests for criminal hazing and assault.

"Freshman Friday" is akin to the hazing depicted in the 1993 movie "Dazed and Confused," in which high-school upperclassmen track down incoming freshmen and beat them with wooden paddles.

But in Rye, N.Y., last week, the paddling was so brutal that one victim had to be treated at a hospital, according to ABC News. Three students were arrested, and more arrests may follow.

The “Freshman Friday” arrestees, all juniors at Rye High School, are ages 16 and 17. They’re accused of kidnapping several incoming freshmen from a local public library, forcing them into a car, and driving them to a wooded area, ABC News reports.

Once there, the juniors allegedly used a “large piece of lumber” to paddle two of the captured teenagers, police told ABC. One student’s paddling was so severe he had to seek hospital treatment; the extent of his injuries was not disclosed.

Police arrested the three suspects Saturday. Though they are underage, they’re facing charges of assault, hazing, and unlawful imprisonment as adults. (New York is one of two states that treat 16- and 17-year-olds as adults in criminal cases; North Carolina is the other.)

The alleged paddlers could also possibly be charged with conspiracy, when two or more people agree to commit an unlawful act and take action toward its completion.

While many students told reporters that “Freshman Friday” is a tradition at Rye High School, the district’s superintendent denied that. “Just because a small handful of students choose to believe that this is the case, does not make it a fact,” the superintendent said in a letter to parents.

The letter also emphasized the “Freshman Friday” paddlings that led to arrests did not take place on school property. Still, the district plans to punish the arrested students under its own disciplinary policy, ABC News reports.

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