OGDEN, Utah (ABC 4 News) - A group of Ogden cheerleaders is suspended after a case of high school hazing. One of the suspended cheerleaders spoke exclusively with ABC 4 Reporter Brian Carlson.
Ogden cheerleader Hailey Lawrence said she understands why people might be upset about the hazing with her cheer squad, but she thinks this situation has been blown out of proportion.
Lawrence knows at lot of students at Ogden are talking about it.
“They were harassing all of the newcomers,” said a sophomore student.
“It makes you feel like you don’t want to try out for anything any more,” said another sophomore.
“I don’t think it’s right,” said a senior student.
But Lawrence said it’s not as bad as everyone makes it out to be.
“It was dumb,” said Hailey Lawrence, Ogden High School Cheerleader.
Lawrence is one of nine senior Ogden cheerleaders suspended for hazing the girls who plan to be cheerleaders next year. She said she didn’t participate in the hazing but she watched as her fellow seniors on the squad blindfolded the new girls at Forest Green Park, and forced them to do cheers while everyone threw things like ketchup mustard and vinegar at them.
Lawrence said the girls who were hazed knew beforehand this was what the squad was going to do.
“Did you think what they were doing was okay?” asked Carlson.
“No, I felt uncomfortable watching it,” Lawrence said.
“Why didn’t you do anything to stop it then?” Carlson replied.
“Because it wouldn’t have mattered,” she said. “I honestly know it wouldn’t have made any difference. I talked to the girls beforehand that I don’t think we should do this, and they said ‘It’s tradition. It’s fine.’ They’re going to do what they want to do.”
It’s not something the Ogden School District takes lightly.
“We will always think hazing is an inappropriate and unacceptable behavior,” said Donna Corby, Ogden School District Spokesperson.
Administrators suspended Lawrence for two days, and other the girls for three days which included missing the Senior Prom.
Administrators warn any future cheerleaders who do the same thing, will receive the same punishment.
“Zero tolerance, that’s a board approved policy,” said Corby.
Now looking back, Lawrence believes this hazing tradition is something cheerleaders at Ogden High School should quit.
“There’s probably a better way,” Lawrence said.
Lawrence concedes that this particular time there was a lot swearing and yelling, and it was too much for her.