11/12/2010 07:48 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

When Does School Hazing Turn Into Bullying?

Massachusetts' Needham High School's girls' soccer team lost this week by six points to state rival Brockton High School in a highly-publicized tournament game. But the game's excitement wasn't rooted in friendly competition, according to the Boston Globe.

The match's attention -- and Needham's upset -- is credited to the suspension of members of the soccer team who were involved in allegedly hazing other players on Oct 29.

The Globe reports,

The hazing victims had been blindfolded and led around on dog leashes, then hit in their faces with pies.

Though the school argues the players went too far, parents and players argue that hazing traditions have been going on for years. One classmate told The Globe:

"The soccer team has been doing this to new recruits for years. Why did they pick this year to ruin my friends' lives? I talked to the girls, and they said everyone was laughing. The biggest problem was that one girl got pie on her boots. And guess what? Her teammates bought her a new pair of boots.''

According to, Massachusetts has had a law banning high school hazing on the books since 1985.

The school's principal wrote that the hazing was "an alleged incident of serious behavior" -- or were the girls just having some harmless fun?

As the national debate over school bullying gains momentum, how does hazing fit into this picture?