Kalama police are looking into reports that a group of teenagers participated in a game in which they choked each other until they passed out.
Kalama police Sgt. Steve Parker said at least six teenagers were involved in the “choking game” last week.
They apparently videotaped the game and posted the video on Youtube. Kalama High School administrators alerted police after learning of the game from a parent who had seen the video, which has since been taken down from the YouTube Web site.
“We determined it was a legitimate safety concern and called the police,” Kalama High Principal Mike Hamilton said Thursday morning.
Hamilton said the students won’t be disciplined by the school because the incident occurred at a student’s home during off-school hours. He said administrators have spoken to students who were involved.
“Their take was they were just having fun and thought there wasn’t any risk to it,” Hamilton said. “I think they had a change of heart as to whether they would do that again.”
Parker said police are investigating the incident and will send their findings to the Cowlitz County Prosecutor’s Office for possible charges of reckless endangerment against those who did the choking.
“What they did could have led to serious injury or death had it been done for too long,” Parker said. None of the participants was injured.
All of the teens were between the ages of 14 and 16, Parker said. Hamilton said they were freshmen and sophomores at the high school.
Hamilton said he had heard national news reports about kids playing the “choking game,” but this is the first time he has dealt with the issue at Kalama.
“You hope that during the growing -up process, kids learn to make good decisions,” Hamilton said. “Unfortunately, when you’re working with teenagers, that’s not always the case. They sometimes make poor decisions, and this happens to be one of them.”
According to the Web site for G.A.S.P — a non-profit educational group whose acronym stands for Games Adolescents Shouldn’t Play — the choking game “often begins with high-achieving teens choking each other as a way to get high without the risk of getting caught with drugs or alcohol. It ends with thousands of kids dying or suffering permanent brain damage each year.”