Choking Incident Leads To Suspensions Of 3 Seniors

PLYMOUTH, Minn. (WCCO) — This is supposed to be a pretty promising year for the Armstrong High School boys hockey team. It is a squad laden with upperclassmen leading the way on the ice.

“They’re all really good players on the team, it’s their senior year,” said classmate Blake Rosenzweig.

But suddenly, Rosenzweig and his fellow Armstrong classmates are worried — not only about the team, but also concerned for three friends. Three senior hockey players may have ended their season before it even began.

One of them, an 18-year-old student, spend his weekend in the Hennepin County Jail. The two other juveniles were handcuffed and led away to the county’s juvenile detention facility. All three are suspended from school for at least 45 days and are accused of playing another kind of “game.”

“You see it on TV, UFC wrestling, you gotta choke them until they tap out,” said classmate Robbie Stokka.

Stokka is talking about an Oct. 6 incident in school where the three boys were horsing around with another student and choked their friend until he lost consciousness. They say they weren’t doing it to feel high — commonly known as “the choking game.”

Still, the practice is both deadly and dangerous, and the Robbinsdale District is pursuing the highest level of punishment against the three students involved.

“That’s what doesn’t add up. It’s a level four, right up there with rape, arson, robbery and intent to hurt him, when he’s our friend,” Stokka said.

He said the three involved in the incident weren’t intending to be malicious or hurtful in any way. Nevertheless, the fellow student briefly passed out from the choke hold and was later transferred to a local hospital to be checked out. The three students were suspended from school, initially for 10 days, which was later changed to a 45-day suspension.

Meanwhile, the case was turned over to police who are investigating for possible assault charges. In the midst of Homecoming activities last Friday, the three were arrested and taken into custody.

The adult student was booked into the Hennepin County jail, where he was bailed out this past weekend. The other two boys were taken to the county’s Juvenile Detention Facility and released to their parent’s custody. The county attorney is reviewing the case for possible criminal charges.

That’s setting off hallway protests within Armstrong High School. Several hundred students gathered last week, angered by the apparent heavy handedness of the district and school administrators.

Beyond their 45-day suspensions and likely dismissal from the hockey team, the three will now carry criminal histories. That’s the long-term effect from the incident that has parents, like Pati Rosensweig, outraged.

While Rosenzweig admits the actions of the boys was “stupid” and the game has no place with teens, she is angry at school administrators for using the boys as a way to send a message to others.

Rosenzweig said the district’s own Rights and Responsibilities Handbook spells out four distinct levels of student misconduct. She believes what they did does not rise to “level 4,” which includes such crimes as, rape, arson, sexual misconduct or bringing weapons to school.

“Their own rules set by them as to what the proper punishment should be. Jail, police? Way overboard,” she said.

More from Bill Hudson
  • deb

    this is NOT a game! if you ask a parent of a child who has died from this sick
    “game,” i believe they would rather have a police record than a death certificate to deal with. No, the punishment does fit the crime, attempted murder would be the best charge here.

    • Come on now!

      They were not trying to kill one another so attempted murder would not work. Nice try though! They should be suspended and that’s about it. They all are probably very embarrassed as to this being all over the news. They are stupid kids who did stupid things. I am sure you, Deb, have done things that were not so smart when you were a kid as well.

    • rmar

      Unfortunately, WCCO didn’t report the story right. They were messing around with their friend. THEY WERE NOT PLAYING THE CHOKING GAME. I GO TO THE SCHOOL, I WAS THERE. it was just some friends messing around. they’re boys, they’re rough. You don’t know the facts.

      • Jake

        So, you were ACTUALLY THERE?? Did you give a statement to the POLICE?? Did you tell them the truth?? Are you doing the honorable thing, defending those who are not able to defend themselves, amongst a bunch of thugs?

        • Cswift

          For your information smart ass, the police have not taken statements of the incident. Authorities along with administration have not even investigated the situation correctly.

        • PCB

          Were YOU there? Do you know these kids? WCCO made it seem like their primary concern was missing the upcoming hockey season (which would imply they are a bunch of jocks who deserve jail time for bullying a kid), but in reality, what everyone at Armstrong is scared of is these kids living the rest of their lives with a criminal record. NONE of them deserve the same treatment as a rapist, or a robber, because seriously all they were doing was horsing around WITH A FRIEND (like hockey players do). Obviously the whole situation got way out of hand when the kid wouldn’t tap out and eventually passed out, and the gravity of that scenario does require some punishment for the people who caused it, BUT, a week suspension from school at the most. They are great kids with great potential who could possibly have their lives ruined because of one unfortunate event.

        • ebeyer

          umm jake… Even the kid who passed out doesn’t want anything to happen to the kids.. His parents called the school and said they didn’t want to press charges. HE set his facebook status last night as “oh yeah WCCO i was playing the chocking game? right…” EVEN HE KNOWS THEY WERE PLAYING AROUND. and yeah, i know a bunch of people who did give statements, however the police didn’t even listen to them because EVERY ONE of them defended the 3 boys.

        • jce

          i was actually there. i was not allowed to talk to the police. i was not allowed to voice my opinion. the parents weren’t allowed to see the video. the students weren’t allowed to see the video the school is hiding it from us. we will take it to court and they’ll have to show the video and you will feel dumb when you’re wrong.

      • Dawn

        I think there should be serious consequences due to the outcome of this incident. I do not agree with attempted murder charges. However, whatever was going on, the boys have to realize that things got out of control and one of them could have easily been killed.

        • jackactionhero

          “I do not agree with attempted murder charges.”

          Just because there was no murder attempted? LOL. Way to grab the obvious and run with it, Dawn.

    • Mary

      I absolutely agree.These 3 boys are lucky they’re not dealing with murder charges. I find it very outrageous and sad that anyone would defend these 3 young men. How would those parents feel if it had been their child choked? Its time our society learns CONSEQUENCES…..I think the sxhool and parents seem to be more concerned about hockey than the safety of the student who was choked. The three that committed this actnare Seniors….scarey….Is this what the next generation has come to???? And SHAME on the parents who defend them!!! You should know better.

      • Dave

        So what did the parent of the child, who was allegedly choked, have to say about the incident? . . . . . Just like I thought. Opinions developed based on news stories, that admittedly were produced without comment from district officials or based on comments from the accused or their parents, are irresponsible at best. I think you should take your seat, quit talking and pay attention to the lesson.

        • jackactionhero

          They said “boys will be boys” Dave. This has been covered. They aren’t concerned about any future incidents either. Try to keep up, buddy…

      • Kp

        Not true at all. The boy who passed out was one of them at the rally. You don’t know these boys, I do. They are good kids. The school sought the punishment so they are not concerned about hockey. The parents are upset about a weekend in jail and a possible record, not hockey.

        It is frustrating to read these extreme statements from people who really don’t know the situation. Wouldn’t you defend your child if they were wrongly accused of a crime when it was an accident?

        • Mary

          How would these parents feel if it had been their child being choked?

          • Kp

            They are not pressing charges. These boys are friends. No evil intent.

          • MN

            shut up you dont know the story so stop acting like u do thanks

          • Ashlee

            Actually the parents spoke out. Something you wouldn’t know because YOU DON’T KNOW THEM. They are the ones saying boys will be boys. It was Horse play. Get the facts before you comment please.


          • Cswift

            The parents of the child actually hired a lawyer to defend these children. If you are going to leave a comment how about you get your facts and actually know the real situation.

        • Jake

          So now it’s an ‘accident’?? To put your hands around another person’s neck to the point of them passing out, maybe even dying? How is that an ‘accident’?? Can’t wait to heat of this phony alibi…

          • Dave

            So I guess you saw the incident or the video and heard testimony from the alleged victim or his parents. I can’t believe the ignorance of some of you people. Do you believe in the Starship Enterprise too? That was on TV!

        • Just Stupid

          KP how do you ACCIDENTALLY choke someone to the point of passing out?
          I guess if the parents are upset maybe they should have taught their children to keeo their hands to themselves, friend or not it is not acceptable behavior and they should just feel lucky that they did not ACCIDENTALLY kill him.

          • kp

            It’s called a choke hold. A wrestling move. When rowdy teenage boys emulate wrestlers accidents can happen. Why are you so quick to paint this as criminal? Why believe the words of someone who doesn’t know the situation over so many of the posters (me included) who know these boys?

            I bet you never accidently hurt anyone in your life. Aren’t you lucky?

      • armstrong student


    • Dave

      Let’s see – you have 5 minutes between class and you are in one of the busiest hallways – if not the busiest in the school – so you decide to play a choking game for all the students to witness and for the security cameras to record. 3 boys plotted this crime carefully and determined that moment and place to be the most opportune. Once again, WCCO, you got some of the facts and made up a story, during which, you say you were not able to get school district officials to comment, nor did you talk to any of the boys involved or their parents. Instead you put videos on TV that depicted the game being played. In so doing you implied that the kids in the videos were the kids charged with playing the game and the crime. And who are these kids really? A students, sports stars, with no record of anything ever, with a mountain of school pride and desire to achieve and make the school proud. Get your story straight will ya. If you couldn’t talk to district officials and you didn’t talk to the parents or the kids involved, where did you get the story?.

    • angry student


    • jce

      YOU ARE TALKING TO STUDENTS WHO LOST SOMEONE DUE TO THE CHOKING GAME LAST YEAR! we know what happens. i agree with you it is scary and awful. TOO BAD THEY WEREN’T PLAYING A GAME! the kids started wrestling and thats that. have you ever wrestled? yes? then by your statement the police should throw you in jail too.

  • Come on now!

    They don’t “get off” you sick-o. They were trying to get a high without using drugs. Stupid idea, yes. This type of behavior has been growing for years and years. They are young and made a dumb decision to do this. Calling them names is so uncalled for.

    • @ jake

      @ jake
      if you really knew the story and every thing in it, you would be offended by the out come, when the person who was getting choked says this is to far its to far. where do you learn your “fact’s” from? your 16 year old kid that doesn’t know what’s going on? and on another rant how is is white trash and ghetto city trash? have you been there? within the last three years? i think not. so go back to the hole you climed out off.

      • Armstrong Student

        Obviously Jake is in lala land and THINKS this choking game happened, and it didn’t. Jake should clearly be quiet because he doesn’t go to Armstrong and doesn’t know the TRUTH of the entire story. Lay off Jake and don’t have an opinion when you don’t have your facts straight.

        • ahs student

          The information wasn’t correct. no one is saying it never happened don’t know where you got that from. shows how terribly misinformed you are on the topic.And the story was aired on wcco because of students and parents of amrstrong wanting people to know about the situation.

          • emily

            JAKE. GET A LIFE. You are clearly not informed on the subject and to be honest, NO ONE CARES THAT YOU WERE A PARATROOPER. SERIOUSLY. Are you trying to scare a bunch of high school kids? That’s incredibly mature. If you have a valid, evidence-suported opinion on the topic, then by all means, let us know, but until then, we WON’T be holding our breaths either.

          • AHS Student

            The information from WCCO has been twisted beyond means. The three boys were all friends there was no evil intent what-so-ever. The chocking game is taken seriously at Armstrong and by the students since there was a death among them last spring. This death was caused by the chocking game. This story is completely different, the boys were being boys, messing around and it led to an accident. That is all it was, AN ACCIDENT. The 3 boys who are being punished are good kids, and do not deserve the outrageous punishment that they are being put through. I am a former Armstrong student, I have walked the halls and there is many worse things happening. This situation is being blown out of proportion.

            • anon

              Dear Jake,
              Didn’t teachers beat their kids back in the 70’s? And remember the wonderful world of LEAD BASED PAINT that has killed more kids than any of this choking business? And ive heard worse stories from parents who were former COOPER HIGH SCHOOL graduating year of 77 (my dear old dad) who was “hazed” as a freshman to where he was put in the hospital do to a broken leg from being thrown off the bleachers and that was just writen off as “boys will be boys”

              • jackactionhero

                And it was his best friends that did it? I doubt that is true. He was hazed by other kids that weren’t his buddies. Your analogy is not relevant or accurate.

                • DBB

                  Like you know anything that went on. Your not relevant or accurate, assuming out of nothing that the kid wasn’t their friend. Go back to your make believe jackactionhero land.

                • jackactionhero

                  Your insult is not warranted. I was commenting on another comment, and mine was placed out of order.

                  I was responding to someone who said their dad was bullied at that school in 77 and tossed off the football bleachers in a hazing incident, and my comment was to say that these are different situations.

                  So, “like I DO know anything that went on” kiddo.

            • AHS Student

              Back off, first of all. Second this was NOT a chocking incident thats why everyone is so upset about what WCCO has said. As I said before the students at Armstrong know the serious consequences that can happen from playing this so called game which is why they wouldn’t mess around with it. Especially these 4 boys (including the “victim”)

      • hamilton

        I thank you for serving but to say we arent worth the effort is wrong… we have our views on what actually happened and you have your opinions on the case and thats totally fine.. your going to far

        • Cswift

          He doesn’t deserve a thank you for his service, why? Because no self respecting service member would need to boast on a public forum of his or her service.

          • Cwift

            You obviously have some issues for another time and another topic. You are just mad at the world for some reason unknown. As for troops in Africa we have had them there for sometime. Naval Mobile Construction Battalions have been there conducting humanitarian work for villages (building schools, running water, etc..) All I would appreciate is if you have any respect left, stop being a bully in this thread. We all get your point, you think these boys deserve punishment. You need to stop bullying others in this thread. I admit that comment was to get a rise out of you. I just think if you learned anything from the military it should be integrity and respect, use it.

      • Alida Miller Adams

        My kid goes to Cooper. It’s a great school. Maybe you should visit and see all the great things happening. My son is in IB, he’s a good kid, he plays football, he’s polite, he listens to and respects authority. All the football players are very polite, hard working, nice young men. In fact, I work across the street and have NEVER had any problems with kids at Cooper. You need to grow up.

  • Jenny Knox

    We did this to ourselves and each other in 7th grade for a week straight. My father said they did it too as kids. Yes, it’s dangerous, but hardly a crime. Just a stupid thing that each generation does for a couple of days until their teacher tells them it kills brain cells.

    • Cathy

      Or until one of them DIES!!!!! Pardon me, but you and your Dad are idiots”

    • Jake

      Well, NOBODY EVER choked me in school, in ANY GRADE, at any LEVEL. In fact, if someone chokes their spouse NOW, even in fun, if the cops are called, and there is ANY physical evidence, SOMEBODY goes to JAIL, period. Domestic violence. You lose your gun rights. You might lose your right to vote. Count yourself out of many good job opportunities, even if it is just a rumor. So play this stupid ‘game’ at your own risk, and don’t be surprised if the hammer comes down upon you in an unfavorable manner. Of course, all of you teens know SO MUCH MORE THAN I DO about careers, LIFE, criminal background investigations, so, JUST KEEP KEEPIN’ IT REAL, ok?

      • Cswift

        Jake you’re an idiot and need to stop while you are ahead. You know nothing of the situation and nothing about life. I am not a teen and have done more in my life than you will ever achieve, I can guarantee that.

        • Cswift

          In what you have done in this life, that gives you power to be so self righteous? I have not accomplished anything in terms of dollars. No comment was posted regarding money. I am insulted by your banter toward the individuals of this thread. You have a right to voice your opinion on the situation but you have become a bully within this thread. I will meet anywhere, anywhere, and any place, shall we make it near the 133rd Airlift Wing? Or over a cold one talking from one service member to another?

        • Hamilton

          shove it where the sun don’t shine? Great morals jake….

  • Al

    Dumb but let’s not ruin their lives. Of course the school gestapo just loves to make examples of athletes.

    • tight fist

      Remember the good old days, when all you choked was your chicken?

  • Rags

    The most twisted generation in history. Period.

    • Jake

      Well, I graduated from Cooper High, BEFORE it got TRASHED, and NOBODY, EVER, tried to ‘choke’ me, even in ‘fun’. What’s wrong with you SICKOS, anyway?

      • pete

        and you think Armstrong is “white trash and ghetto inner city trash”?!?!?!

        • Jake

          It apparently is NOW.

      • Ashlee


        Please stop commenting.. You know how to use your mouth, CONGRATS! We get it! :)

        Thanks! :)

    • Brian

      Scarey, isn’t it? I don’t know whos more twisted…the young men that did the choking or the parents who defend them????

      • Ashlee

        Dear Jake,

        PLEASE GET A LIFE!!!

        Thanks! :)

        • Cswift

          Jake you need to watch the way you speak toward a woman. I am getting sick of your banter.

        • DBB

          HAHAHAHAHHAHAHA what an activist for nothing. The true justice of your insanity.

      • DBB

        Did you get picked on in high school or something by someone who played a sport? Hockey maybe? Because you sure are mad for no odd reason besides your wrong, and you know you are wrong, but yet you keep defending yourself because of what ever drug your on.

      • jce

        i don’t know whats more scary, someone commenting blindly on a video they know nothing about or someone being so age discriminant they will believe nothing high schoolers who were there said.

  • bob

    Everyone here is absolutely wrong. IT WASN’T A CHOKING GAME. they were UFC fighting and he was placed in a position where he passed out. The news got it wrong! I’m from that school. NOBODY AT SCHOOL PLAYS THE DUMB CHOKING GAME. So they shouldn’t get kicked off the team for something the news made up. thank youu.

    -Armstrong Student.

  • armstrong student


  • armstrong student

    this was not what they were doing. it was NOT a “choking game” the news made that up

  • Jeff

    Go away, nobody asked for your opinion.

    • Carl

      what does you being a paratrooper have to do with anything?

    • Armstrong student

      You simply don’t understand. It is not that complicated. YOU’RE FACTS, ARE WRONG. And so is WCCO. You are seriously going to believe one news cast..? And not even ask if that is what happened? Listen to these student comments, we’re fighting for our classmates for a REASON. Take a quick pause and figure out why that is. Quit being an ignorant child and learn to gather your facts.

    • ahs student

      haha.what does a being a paratrooper have to do with this incident, now your defense is getting desperate.The fact that your a grown adult arguing like your in middle school is horrible.i can’t imagine how obnoxious you were in high school. must have some bad memories huh jake?there is a stick way up your butt.

  • armstrong student

    seriously bro, stfu.

  • jeff

    I’ll be the first to tell you that I think armstrong is on bull (and so are you) and that i am a student there

  • h

    shut up, jake. they weren’t even playing the choking game, they were doing a group hug. learn the facts before you open your big mouth.

  • armstrong student


  • kirsten

    Jake I think you need anger management. The people that are saying it was wrestling (like Robbie in the story above) were there. They go to the school, they know all the kids involved. I’d like to know why you think you are such an expert.

    WCCO misinterpreted what they were told. Why do you instantly believe the reporter over the kids who were there? These are good kids. Armstrong has its issues like any high school, but it is full of good and promising students. Their future – college, jobs, etc. shouldn’t be jeopardize because they rough housed too hard. How callous can you be?

  • jeff

    you’re funny

  • Md2

    So, from what i hear….3 kids we’re choking each other…..and they were seniors in high school…..isn’t that a little immature….and considering a kid died last year from suffocation, I’d say they have all the reason to be cautious.

    • hamilton

      They were all friends… So wait before you assume that they were picking on a little kid who was helpless.. i was there and saw it, it was a freak accident.

  • KLS

    This is attempted murder and or suicide. Someone is not teaching these kids what they need to survive.The school was justified in the punishment and for the parents to complain instead of meting out discipline themselves is typical for our age.

    • Kirsten

      You are so uninformed it scares me. Rough housing does not qualify as attempted murder (or suicide???), and parents who defend their children when they have been wrongly accused ARE teaching their kids valuable lessons.

      What parent wouldn’t stand by their child when an ACCIDENT is called a crime?

    • jackactionhero

      “This is attempted murder and or suicide.”

      False, and even if the boy had asphyxiated and died, those words would not have been used in any investigation. Please learn what you’re talking about. You can’t just throw out terms you don’t understand and try to tell us all what someone should be charged with when you don’t even understand the terms yourself!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • armstrong student.

    it wasnt the choking game. why would 3 kids be involved in a game were one person gets high ?

  • Armstrong student

    Wow. You’re just a mindless person who believes in one story, and thinks it gives you the right to judge one person or an entire school district. Really? I would consider finding something more interesting and relevant to yourself to focus on. You said you’ve graduated, and yet you’re acting more childish and ignorant then the people attending the school now. As for the incident, I’m not exactly sure what happened, but I’m happy to be in a school with people who are willing to defend their own colleagues.

  • Kelly

    Sports have nothing to do with this incident; however the parents and WCCO are making it about the “promising year for the Armstrong High School boys hockey team”. I hope parents and the community can see the severity of this and not just sweep it under the rug because they want to see their kids win a State Championship!!!
    The fact is that a young adult choked another out. He and the others that were involved should face the music. Unless you are in a controlled MMA setting this is unexceptable behavior. Maybe this experience will change how the students and parents behave in and outside of school.

  • AHS2012

    They were not playing a game. They were not trying to get high. This was horse play that unfortunately turned out bad. They are all great kids, teammates, and students who did not and have not ever tried to hurt anyone. It was an accident. Kids and teenagers goof around like this all the time. They watch UFC on tv and wrestle. 999 out of 1,000 times nothing happens. Unfortunately this time something did. I was there when it happened, and this was in no way shape or form an assault or an attempt to get high. Just an accident.

  • Concerned

    I believe the district is doing the right thing. This is a serious matter, no matter what they were trying to do. You can’t choke someone. What if you did that in the work world? It wouldn’t be tolerated. They a seniors in high school, it’s time to start thinking about those things.


    one of the guys is my cousin. he and a couple of his buddies did a group hug with their friend. there was NO choking game, or any UFC fighting. just a group hug. and the guy who passed out ? his dad isn’t even pressing charges. this whole thing is bull. they should be suspended for a couple of days at the ABSOLUTE MOST. there shouldn’t be any criminal charges whatsoever.
    the news really needs to get their story straight before they report on something.

    • JMJ

      People do not pass out from hugging.

      • FREE SAMMY T.

        If you’re in the middle, i’ts possible.. It’s happened to me before. you suffocate from the squeezing. It’s possible. It’s really hard to breathe in them. TRUST ME. It’s possible!

  • Student

    Not to discredit WCCO or anything, but the some of these facts are slanted, and in some places, incorrect.

    Firstly, there were over a dozen witnesses to this event, which occurred in the middle of the cafeteria. It was just some guys horsing around. No teenager would ever dare play the “choking game” to get high in the middle of the lunch room. Plus, the three kids were all friends with the “victim” so there was no murderous intent.

    Secondly, the outrage amongst the student body isn’t just caused by the extreme punishment. (Which is much more severe than what the school rules count as a first physical offense. A 45-day suspension is given to people who bring firearms to school or assault the school police officer.) One of the students was falsely arrested and suspended. He was not even part of the actual choking, but was hunted down by the school administration nonetheless. This has caused protesting throughout the entire school.

    • AHS2012

      Very true!!! This student never laid one finger on the “victim”. He supposedly picked 3 kids up in the air and choked the victim… Also this has nothing to do with the hockey team. Yes they’re hockey players, and one of them is a captain, but it’s not hockey season. This should not have affected them playing hockey at all. The fact that one of them is a captain shows that they are good kids…

    • kp

      The one that is lacking respect and decency is you Jake. You are way too angry and opinionated on something you aren’t involved in. Your conspiracy theories of a cover-up are ludicrous. Did you ever do anything that went wrong in your life? Kids do.

      You say you are a Cooper graduate. An adult. Yet you are more childish than any of the students on this posting.

    • ashlee

      Dear Jake,

      Shut up and GET A LIFE you idiot. It’s clear you have nothing better to do than involve yourself in something that has nothing to do with you. One day when something like this happens to you i hope no one stands up for you and you feel the pain these families are going through.

      Thanks!! :)

    • Student

      It’s true that this kind of behavior is intolerable, but the punishment is too severe. The first physical offense, by the school rules, is a 10-day suspension, yet it suddenly became a 45-day suspension and arrests. In addition to that, one of the three seniors is completely innocent. The school administration no longer follows the own rules and consequences that it administers. They have crossed the boundary that they themselves drew.

    • lol u look dumb

      clearly you don’t have you information totally correct either….because it happened in the senior hallway…not the lunchroom.

  • Armstrong student

    Wow… So you’re going to sit there and listen to what a couple people on the website wearing suits say. Really? It’s pretty much their job to twist and turn the news how they see fit. I literally feel like I’m arguing with a mindless 8 year old. And you’re probably much older than me. Like I said before. Get your facts straight before you judge an entire school.

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