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Grad ‘kidnapping’ parties endanger Whistler Secondary School students

Just a matter of time before a grad is severely injured or killed:’ WSS principal


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The principal of Whistler Secondary School has sent a letter to the parents of the graduating class outlining her concerns about the tradition of "grad kidnapping" parties, where Grade 12s are taken by classmates to private homes to engage in binge drinking and drug use.

Both teachers and police fear someone will get hurt.

"We have already had a couple of near misses and we feel that it is just a matter of time before a grad is severely injured or killed," Bev Oakley stated in the letter.

The tradition of grad kidnappings, which have been going on for at least a decade at WSS, results in students being taken from their homes, sometimes bound and thrown into vehicles, and taken to parties, which always take place on weeknights.

"At the party, the prisoners are force-fed alcoholic beverages, in many cases to the point of severe inebriation. We're all aware of the dangers related to this. However, at school, the results persist into the next school day," Oakley wrote.

The letter goes on: "It is our intention to inform you immediately should your son or daughter arrive at school under the influence of alcohol or drugs, under the effects of a night of partying, dressed in pajamas when it's not a sanctioned school activity or if your son or daughter's morning-after behaviour cause disruptions in our classrooms."

The letter is an unprecedented move and was one of the main subjects of discussion at the Parent Advisory Council meeting on Oct. 25, said Oakley in an interview. One kidnapping party has already taken place this year, but one scheduled for Oct. 24 appears to not have taken place.

"It scares us," she said. "This year, the day after the first grad kidnapping... we did happen to notice that there had been quite a change in the comportment of the students when they came to school the next day, those who did come to school," Oakley said.

"It never used to be binge drinking parties. It was more a fun activity; there wasn't this huge drinking component to it. But this year, in the last few years, it has suddenly become a big party night," she said.

More to come...