Online readers respond to "High School Girls Wrapped in Plastic and Slathered in Whipped Cream & Chocolate: Just Fine with HISD," Hair Balls blog, by Craig Malisow, April 28:
Come on: There is nothing harmful that I know of about pudding and whipped cream, seriously. Nothing was being shoved in their mouths or in their eyes. How can being covered in food like that really be that embarrassing and intimidating, when it's being done by your friends or teammates, with parents involved? I think this is getting blown way out of proportion.
I know that my 15-year-old daughter wouldn't have regretted being part of a "tradition" if that were her group, and I wouldn't mind her participating, either, especially with such harmless items involved. And by the way, their heads are not covered in the pictures, just their faces. And another thing that it seems some fail to notice...they are all fully clothed. Now, maybe they should think about that and realize just how bad it really could be.
Really? How is this humiliating? My daughter would love this. In fact, we had a "food" fight for her birthday. All the creamy stuff outside. This is not what hazing is about — these girls are obviously not in harm's way.
Overreacting: Honestly, on this one, I don't see the big deal. And I was someone who was bullied in school. It doesn't seem as though any of the girls, messy though they might be, are under duress. In one photo it even seems as though a teammate is offering the girl a hand up. So I think this time the parent might be overreacting just a little bit. The only thing that I'd be concerned about if I were one of those girls is the thought of having my picture posted on the Web for the pervs to see.
This is hazing: I happen to have a sister who was part of the Bellaire freshman volleyball team and did not attend this initiation. Because she did not attend, she was confronted by the varsity players and was thus shunned by most of the players within the program. I also happen to know that the girls who did attend this particular "Freshman Initiation" (as it was called when I was a part of the volleyball team) were wrapped in saran wrap (with their hands bound across their chest) and then shoved into a van.
I am appalled by your statements that this is not hazing. This is a prime example of hazing.
Not the Press! My daughter is a freshman at Bellaire. She played on the freshman team this year, but she is on the Bellaire team. From freshmen to seniors to the coaches, this is a team. As a newcomer to Bellaire, you need to understand how much it means to a father for his daughter to be accepted, encouraged and embraced by the juniors and seniors.
For some reason, one person feels they were wronged. I don't know; maybe they were. But why, of all places, would you take this to the Press? Is that because you know they will publish anything that will allow them to give away more papers?
Online readers respond to "Another Day, Another Awkward Annise Parker Statement on HPD," Hair Balls blog, by Richard Connelly, April 30:
Follow our laws: The man had no license plate showing, violation one. The man did not pull over for the police, violation two. The man "ran" from police, violation three. The police were doing their job. I don't give a darn if he was some sort of special Chinese diplomat. He is over here, in Texas, USA, and is supposed to follow our laws. He is not supposed to get a free ride at our expense.
Throw him in jail and fine his butt just like what would happen to any U.S. citizen who attempted what he did. There should be no such thing as diplomatic immunity. Oh, and since the license plate was not showing, the police had no way of knowing the idiot was any kind of diplomat.
No excuse: No matter what Yu did, he was arrested on the property of the Chinese consulate. That's absolutely wrong. It is recognized as foreign soil, not U.S. soil. What HPD did is inexcusable. How would you feel if Chinese police entered the U.S. consulate in China and arrested a U.S. diplomat?
VIP: Between this and the recent beating, it appears that HPD is full of idiots. Diplomatic immunity is a very important principle, and protects our foreign diplomats from being prosecuted by laws they are not fully familiar with. I'd hate to see one of our diplomats arrested and flogged for chewing gum (a crime in some countries where we have a diplomatic presence) just because they weren't aware it was illegal.
Police punks: No matter how Mayor Parker tries to spin it, HPD is full of power-hungry, civil rights-violating punks. Phony investigations by the police into their own behavior are not believable, and as long as our mayor puts up with the cops whitewashing everything, this type of crap will continue.
NATIONAL AWARDS TIMES TWO
Houston Press writers recognized in journalism competitions
Two Houston Press writers have been recognized in two different national journalism awards contests.
Houston Press staff writer Chris Vogel is a national finalist in the Livingston Awards for Young Journalists competition — the country's largest all-media general-reporting contest.
Reserved for reporters 34 years of age or younger, it allows writers from the largest and smallest publications to compete head-to-head, and gives journalists from print, broadcast and online an equal shot. Vogel was recognized for his story "A Quiet Hell," which investigated how lax enforcement by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality contributes to the continued release of airborne toxins along the Houston Ship Channel.
Former fellow Mike Giglio is a national finalist in the Health Care Journalism Award competition sponsored by the National Institute for Health Care Management. Giglio was recognized for his story "You Want a Piece of Me," about a young homeless man offered money to sell his kidney.
In our May 6 cover story "On Hold" the accompanying art treatment incorporated the wrong law enforcement agency's badge. We should have used a photo of the constable's office badge.
The Houston Press regrets the error.
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