Amid allegations of hazing and bullying on Maine West High School athletic teams, and a , the community surrounding the Des Plaines high school was suddenly forced to wonder which school traditions actually deserve the tolerance they once received.
Northbrook is no stranger to these questions and challenges, having faced its own bout with a much publicized hazing scandal at Glenbrook North in 2003. But the GBN of today is a school recognized for its exceptional academic program, outstanding athletes and inspiring alumni.
So how did the the school reinvent its image?
“Our realization was everyone in the community contributes to what we are, and for what this high school is,” District 225 superintendent Mike Riggle recently told WBEZ. He was principal of Glenbrook North in 2003.
In the aftermath of the GBN hazing, faculty and staff reevaluated the entire school's culture — shutting down clubs with no academic advisor, banning toilet paper vandalism and negative chanting at school functions, and introducing school wide workshops that connect students to one another around fields of interest, WBEZ reports.
Can Maine West overcome this hurdle the way GBN once did? It's certainly going to be harder — Glenbrook's scandal never reached a grand jury. But as the school begins its pursuit of justice, the surrounding community can begin to educate a future generation of students who can be characterized by their virtues instead of their scandals.