Hazing--a humiliating, degrading, abusive or harmful activity expected of someone joining a group--is most commonly associated with college fraternities, sororities and sports teams. But this practice is also seen in the military, on job sites, and on the rise in high schools.
Younger and younger victims are facing the brutal rituals of hazing when joining school sports teams, fraternities and club. We hear the stories every day.
In national news, ten football players at Clover High School were thrown off the team and three others suspended after several alleged assaults that were reported as part of team hazing rituals.
Three Philadelphia-area high school football players were charged with allegedly assaulting a freshman teammate during a twisted “No Gay Thursday” weekly hazing ritual inside the locker room. Three senior athletes at Conestoga High School are accused of penetrating the rectum of the underclassmen with a broomstick after he refused to strip down to his underwear and clean the bathroom with other teammates, according to the Chester County District Attorney Thomas Hogan.
In Michigan, members of a wrestling team at Jefferson High School were suspended after reports that they urinated on new members in the showers and sexually assaulted them.
The statistics speak to the widespread problem:
- 1.5 million high school students are hazed each year
- 55% of college students involved in clubs, teams and organizations experience hazing.
- 40% of athletes who reported being involved in hazing behaviors report that a coach or advisor was aware of the activity; 22% report that the coach was involved.
- 2 in 5 students say they are aware of hazing taking place on their campus. More than 1 in 5 report that they witnessed hazing personally.
- In 95% of cases where students identified their experience as hazing, they did not report the events to campus officials.
- 36% of students say they would not report hazing primarily because "there's no one to tell," and 27% feel that adults won't handle it right.
It's important for parents and students to understand the dangers and widespread problem of hazing. Those who witness hazing must understand the importance of reporting these incidents. Hazing is a crime that destroys team members and, rather than making groups stronger, it weakens the team/group and should never be tolerated. Victims can take legal action.
Here are some signs to look for in an individual that may be the victim of hazing:
- Cutting, branding, labeling, or shaving of parts of the body
- Required to walk in groups, greet members in a specific manner, and/or carry certain items.
- Loss of voice due to having to yell
- Physical exhaustion from being forced to do certain activities, such as multiple sit-ups
- Mental exhaustion, change in personality and/or withdrawal from normal activities
- Not coming home for days or weeks at a time
- Not being able to sit down or soreness from paddling
- Appearance of sadness or expressions of inferiority
- Sleep deprivation due to being forced to participate in late-night work sessions
Has your child or someone you know been the victim of hazing? Hazing is a crime and it is important for victims to know their rights. If your child was the victim of a hazing incident you may be entitled to compensation for injuries as well as pain and suffering. Responsible parties may include the school, organization as well as responsible parties.
Contact us for more information and to find out how to protect your legal rights. Our experienced lawyers understand the difficulty and embarrassment kids may face and will treat you with compassion and answer all your question. We will sit down with you for a free consultation, answer all you questions and let you know your rights and what you can expect from the legal process.
You May Also Be Interested In Reading: