Sedgewick, Alta. — Police and parents in a small Alberta community are shocked after new high school students were initiated by being beaten with belt buckles, hockey sticks, baseball bats — and in one case with a cheese grater taped to a piece of wood.

The new Grade 10 students were invited by older teenagers to a bush party where they were bound to a bridge by their wrists, stripped from the waist down and flogged, say parents.

One teen is said to have swung a bat wrapped with the same abrasive material used to line truck beds during the so-called “initiation” Aug. 28.

“After 10-15 minutes of this beating, that they call paddling, someone from Grade 12 finally stepped in and said enough,” the parent of one of the beaten boys told the Edmonton Journal. “Supposedly when they were all done and they finally released these children, then they gave them alcohol and said they earned their respect.”

Sedgewick is about 200 kilometres southeast of Edmonton.

RCMP have heard rumours of such hazings for new students in the past. But officers had not received a complaint until last weekend, when someone came forward who was “directly involved.”

However, that complainant has been unco-operative with investigators since their initial complaint, and police are unable to get on the record a single witness to the hazing, despite reports that there were over 100 people out at the party. Apparently, at least five teens were beaten, leaving some bleeding. Some reportedly had trouble sitting down.

RCMP Sgt. Phil Wilson said they’ve hit a wall in the investigation. It seems high school loyalties have trumped any sense of public duty to report the crime. “People are doing a lot of talking, but nobody’s willing to say that they saw it,” Wilson said.

Not even the victims are willing to go on the record with police about what happened to them because they fear it will result in alienation from their peers, said one victim’s mother. She said they decided as a family not to give a police statement.

“We talked extensively about the repercussions,” she said. “This is a small community. I can’t protect him 24-7.”

Central High Sedgewick Public School is the only high school in the area.