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Two adults charged in violent hazing incident

From Jeff Flock
CNN Chicago Bureau

The hazing incident that took place among Glenbrook North High School students was recorded on amateur video.
The hazing incident that took place among Glenbrook North High School students was recorded on amateur video.

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Illinois officials have charged two adults in connection with the violent hazing incident involving high school students. CNN's Jeff Flock reports (May 22)
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Thirty-one students accused in a videotaped hazing have been offered a deal to graduate on time if they won't fight expulsion.
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SKOKIE, Illinois (CNN) -- Two adults have been charged Wednesday in connection with the violent hazing incident earlier this month that was captured on videotape, prosecutors said Wednesday.

One parent was charged with delivery of alcohol to a minor after buying three kegs and giving them to her son, who was charged with unlawful possession of alcohol by a minor.

A second parent was charged with allowing her home to be used for the consumption of alcohol by minors. One of the kegs was delivered to the home while the remaining two were delivered to the park.

In an afternoon press conference, prosecutors pointed to alcohol as fueling the hazing that left several junior girls from Glenbrook North High School injured and requiring medical treatment.

Steve Goebel, Cook County assistant state's attorney, said "alcohol clearly heightened the violence in this case and parents are partly to blame for what occurred."

The incident took place off school grounds at a gathering for a powder puff football game that was never played.

Both adults are charged with misdemeanors and both are parents of students at the school.

School officials have said they believe at least one of the young people seen on the videotape was a former student.

On Monday, school officials offered several of the 31 students suspended in the incident a deal that would expel them, but allow them to graduate. It would require them to perform community service and obtain counseling, and they would have to agree not to exploit the event through book or movie deals, said school attorney Lawrence Weiner.

They would also have to agree to the expulsion from school and promise not to sue the school district, Weiner said.

In return, the school would essentially freeze the students' grades at what they were before the incident rather than flunking them because of their expulsion.

They would graduate with their class, but would not be allowed to attend graduation ceremonies. (Full story)

In videotape of the May 4 incident, teens were seen hitting their younger classmates and showering them with mud, feces and garbage.

On Tuesday, a federal judge denied a request from two of the suspended students for a temporary restraining order that would bar the school from punishing them in the case.

Judge George Kocoras will issue a memorandum -- possibly Wednesday -- on the request from seniors Liat Gendelman and Taylor Wessel, both 18 years old.

Also, District Court Judge Julia Nowicki in Chicago has agreed to move to a federal court two lawsuits against the school and school board regarding the punishments. The Glenbrook School Board had sought the move because the lawsuits allege the plaintiffs' Constitutional rights were violated because they were not granted "due process" in the case.

Nowicki had earlier refused to grant a temporary restraining order in one of the suits, clearing the way for the school board to issue suspensions.

State prosecutors said last week they will charge 15 of the students who participated in the violent hazing -- 12 women and three men -- with misdemeanor battery, which, according to Cook County State's Attorney Dick Devine, is punishable by up to 364 days in jail. Other punishments could include probation, supervision and a $2,000 fine.

The sentence will be up to a judge after conviction, according to Devine. Their court date is scheduled for June 11.

"During the outburst, six junior girls were injured in a high school rite of passage gone bad," said Devine. "One victim had 10 stitches in her head. There are possible concussions. And it simply is the kind of behavior that any community cannot tolerate and will not tolerate."


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