Sabrina Achcar-Winkels was ‘initiated’ into her high school dance team in a brutal hazing ritual. After reporting it, her former friends bullied and tormented her for years!
How horrible. After years of pain and abuse, Sabrina Achcar-Winkels, 17, finally got some vindication. A jury awarded the Oregon teen $70,000 in November, according to The Oregonian, over an Aug. 9 2014 incident. When Sabrina was just 14, she was “initiated” into the Lakeridge High School dance team. The “initiation” was a hazing ritual, as seniors pelted the Sabrina and more than a dozen other blindfolded girls with water balloons and soaked them with water guns. They were also ordered to wear trash bags over bikinis while wrestling on tarps covered in maple syrup, soap and oatmeal. Oh, while this was going on, boys yelled obscenities them and others covered the girls with feathers.
During the hazing, some of the girls screamed for the seniors to stop. They did not. Sabrina’s mother, Taissa Achcar-Winkels, saw the whole outdoor “ritual,” as she went running past the high school after dropping her daughter off at a senior’s house, per Daily Mail. Two days after the hazing, Sabrina and her mother reported it to Lily Schauffler, the team’s technique coach and dance team alumna. They asked to keep Sabrina’s name confidential, as they were afraid of retaliation from the team.
Sadly, the school found out that it was Sabrina who complained. Then, the punishment began. She was benched from performing at the first football game of the season (no dance team member had ever been benched before under the previous coach) and the coach threatened to suspend Sabrina, believing her mother was “spreading rumors” about the initiation. Sabrina quit the team after that, but the harassment was just starting.
She lost most of her friends after reporting the hazing. Isolated, she was called a snitch, a liar, and her former friends told her to kill herself. Her parents complained the Lake Oswego Superintendent, Heather Beck. Beck then ordered an investigation in Nov. 2014, three months after Sabrina’s mother reported the hazing. The Achcar-Winkels family would file a lawsuit in 2015. Four days before that trial began, someone left a nasty message, written in lipstick, on Sabrina’s car parked outside her home.
Ultimately, a jury found the district and school principal negligent for failing to immediately investigate the hazing claims. They awarded Sabrina’s family the $70k. Both the head coach and dance team coach left their jobs by the end of the 2014-15 school year. The superintendent announced she would resign at the end of the school year.
“It wasn’t about the money, it was all about the word getting out that this happens and the administrations, principals, coaches they all need to stand up and help the people who speak up,” Sabrina said. “Don’t tell kids who speak up for what was wrong to be quiet.”
What do you think about this, HollywoodLifers?