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Student Hurt At Pep Rally From Flying Battery

A couple of students have been suspended following the incident Friday when they hurled D batteries at freshmen.


The annual Spirit Week pep rally, always a raucous assembly, turned dangerous last Friday, when at least one student was hit by an airborne "D" battery that was lobbed by another student.

"Unfortunately, after a very successful homecoming week we did have a few students engage in very inappropriate behavior during the pep-rally that necessitated the school take immediate and severe disciplinary action," said
EGHS Principal Michael Podraza via email.

The father of the student who was hit said his child suffered a "welt" from the battery, but it was not a serious enough injury to prevent participation in after-school activities Friday.

"They called me, they called the police. They apprehended the kids, they punished the kids," said the father, who asked to remain anonymous. "I think it was handled as well as it could be. In a large group, you’re going to have a few knuckleheads."

The two students who were identified as the battery throwers have been suspended. 

Traditionally, the freshman class has been the whipping boy during the pep rally, greeted with chants of "Go back to Cole" – a reference to Cole Middle School. One freshman contacted for this story said he was warned all week long about the pep rally.

"When we got in there, all the freshmen were scared," he said.

"We were appalled," said the boy's parent. "D batteries can cause real injury."

It's unclear why batteries were thrown. According to the freshman boy, a student next to him got hit with a messy open-face sandwich.

After the batteries were thrown, school officials stopped the pep rally and said the Homecoming Dance would be cancelled unless the perpetrators came forward. Two students were identified and the dance took place Saturday night as scheduled.

On Monday, there was an assembly for the Freshman class to talk about the pep rally.

"We ... took the opportunity to reassure them that what happened at the pep rally was not indicative of the student body of EGHS and that all faculty, staff and administration would take all necessary steps to ensure that this type of behavior would never occur again," he said.

The two freshmen contacted for this story said they were reassured by the assembly.

"I felt good they were taking precautions so people don't get [hurt next year]," said one.

For Nicholas Rath, teacher advisor for the Student Council, which organizes Spirit Week activities, the incident was one bad mark on an overall positive week.

"The homecoming activities throughout the week were extremely positive. The students were exceptionally well behaved, spirited and full of enthusiasm," Rath said. "The same can be said for the Pep Rally. Unfortunately, there was an isolated incident involving a few students who made the bad choice to throw batteries toward another group of students. This was dealt with swiftly and the students have since received appropriate disciplinary action."

One parent of a freshman said she was surprised there had been no communication from the administration to parents about the incident. But for the parent of the student who was hurt, the situation was handled appropriately.

"If the school didn’t discipline the kids then I would have had to do something," said the father of the 15-year-old who was hurt. "The school did their job and I’m satisfied."

Principal Podraza said he thinks there won't be this sort of problem in the future.

"I am confident that we have a plan in place to ensure that the 'Go back to Cole' chant that occasionally arose during pep rallys will be permanently eliminated from the EGHS homecoming culture."

Sharon Siedliski October 04, 2012 at 01:35 PM
Taunting freshmen students to 'go back to Cole' and making some feel unwelcome and not a part of the high school they will be a participant in and contribute to for the next 4 years doesn't seem very school spirited. I am surprised this has been allowed to go on as 'traditon'. Hopefully after this incident the culture will be more inclusive instead of exclusive towards first-year high school students.
Class of 98 October 04, 2012 at 03:28 PM
Its nothing new though. They did it all 4 years when I was there. Its not one sided, the responding chant was "seniors suck" or "seniors stink". During my years it was more tongue in cheek than with malice, maybe its changed.
Wendy Fachon October 04, 2012 at 05:29 PM
Adolescence... Addle essence! When someone told me a couple weeks ago that upper classmen throw batteries at freshman at Homecoming, I did not believe it. And here it is... battery by batteries? D batteries are DENSE! OUCH! Addled? Confused? Dense-headed... or Brainless? Adolescents can be allowed lapses in common sense, but THIS goes way too far. Seniors are supposed to be the most mature students in the school... the models of behavior.... the ones everybody else looks up to and wants to emulate. Some students are doing a good job of this, however, from stories I've been hearing here and there, a small number of students are giving the Class of '13 a bad rep. Guess what, kids... You turn 18 this year. "It's time to grow up and become a responsible adult... take responsibility for your actions and the actions of others you care about." This doesn't mean you can't have a little fun once in a while... just please take care your fun doesn't hurt anyone - physically or emotionally. I challenge ALL seniors of EGHS to truly prove their integrity, worth, and compassion as leaders in their school and as citizens of their town. Show that you can stand together as ONE.
angela October 05, 2012 at 03:58 AM
As a parent of a member of the class of '13, I am highly offended by your comments. There was no notification received from the school on this incident. If I chose to lay blame it would have to be based on "rumor" and the "rumor" I heard it was a member of the class of '14. The age of 18 is not magical, as parents we hope and pray that every year our children take a step forward towards beoming an adult. Every year in every class at the high school there is a "bad apple" or two but to lay blame on an entire class without any facts is definitely a lapse in common sense. Over the years, I have met a good majority of the class of '13 and I have found the majority to be intelligent, caring and contributing members to both the EGSD and the EG community . We all hear stories here and there but as responsible adults we should know the stories we hear are not always fact. The seniors of EGHS do not need a challenge to prove their integrity, worth and compassion , they do it every day.
Lynn October 10, 2012 at 08:53 PM
Wendy... The class of 2013 is an amazing class! Most students are very smart, they work hard, study very hard, participate in many after school activities and are an INCREDIBLE large group of kids. 2 -7 kids out of the whole class of what...170 or so? Every class, INCLUDING the Freshman class, has some kids who need some discipline, but EG should be very proud of the class of 2013. 99% of those kids are going places and will make a difference in this country...and this country needs it, that's for sure. The huge majority of the class of 2013 do not have to prove anything in high school anymore...they have been doing that for 4 years, by being the upstanding young people that they are, studying hard, working, contributing to their clubs and teams, being respectful to teachers and administrators and forming great friendships along the way. Senior class absolutely rocks and I should know...my daughter is from that class! People have been saying the "battery Thrower" is not even a member of the 2013 class. So unless you have a kid in that class, you really have no right to criticize the Seniors as a whole unless you know the majority...which, obviously, you don't.
Susan October 16, 2012 at 02:21 PM
Three out of the four comments are from women....do women have full time jobs in East Greenwich or do they have ample time to study the Patch...and "defend" their precious cargo? Use your resources to MODEL civic-minded, generous behavior as mothers contributing to society. Just a thought....
Lynn October 16, 2012 at 08:34 PM
Your comment is so poorly written, makes no sense whatsoever and clearly misogynistic...and this is coming from a female? Hmmm...clearly, you don't have a job either "Susan"? Studying the "patch"? Why don't you take more time out of your day, re-read the posts and try and understand exactly what us "females" who are "defending our precious cargo" are saying...pathetic retort.
Susan October 18, 2012 at 12:51 AM
Lynn, The teens who threw the batteries were behaving viciously. Hopefully, students are learning kindness--through words and actions--modeled by parents and other role models at home. "Pathetic retort," as a retort, only substantiates my observation, when in fact, gentle reader, you aimed to criticize and refute. "A" for effort! Perhaps bullies haze physically and verbally? In pep rallies and online? We all should aspire to be better people for ourselves and our children. Best to be busy making a real difference, in real time, "live" than ranting on the Patch. As the kids would say, "Just sayin'!"

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