Cooper: Hazing policy examination better late than never

Hamilton County Schools Superintendent Rick Smith, shown inside the Hamilton County School Board meeting room, has been faced with a hazing incident before.

It's not like there wasn't a serious hazing precedent - before last month's pool-cue rape of an Ooltewah High School basketball player - involving a Hamilton County Schools sports team.

In 2001, two Lookout Valley High School baseball players were arrested in a reported hazing incident in which one player held down another player, and a third waved his exposed genitals in the face of the victim.

"I believe it got out of hand," then-Assistant Superintendent Rick Smith said at the time, "and I don't like it. Not any of us like to see that happen."

The two students perpetrating the hazing were dismissed from the baseball team and suspended from school for the rest of the year.

One of the two arrested perpetrators, already 18, was granted guilty-plea diversion on an assault charge.