With Labor Day already in our rearview mirror, it can only mean one thing – kids of all ages, have gone back to school. If you are like me, and my fellow parents in the VWPW law team, back to school is always celebrated with the annual back to school photo dutifully posted on social media.

But there is of course is a darker side to going back to school, or potentially going to school for the first time and that is hazing. Before you send your child out the door, please take time to have an open and frank discussion about why hazing is not okay.

Hazing is the humiliating and sometimes dangerous initiation rituals, especially as imposed on college students seeking membership to a fraternity or sorority or athletic team or club. More recent trends show that hazing doesn’t just happen as part of a college initiation it happens at a much earlier age, in high school and middle school. Here are a few interesting statistics:

High School

  • 91% of all H.S. students belong to at least one group, and half of them, 48% report being subjected to hazing activities.
  • 43% were subjected to humiliating activities and 30% performed potentially illegal acts as part of their initiation.1
  • Both male and female students report high levels of hazing
  • All hazing incidents are under-reported

College

  • More than half the students involved in clubs, teams, and organizations experience hazing1
  • There has been at least one hazing death reported every year since 1969
  • Hazing is often accompanied by the consumption of copious amounts of alcohol
  • 65% of college age survey respondents agree that the primary goal of an initiation is to bond2
  • 88% of the same group believe increased alcohol consumption has led to more dangerous hazings2.
  • 80% of respondents believe hazing has become more sexualized in the last 10 years2.

Hazing is dangerous and should not be tolerated. Although students believe it is part of the bonding process there is no scientific evidence to support this theory. There is a strong code of silence surrounding hazing and participants believe that adults – coaches, RA’s and authority figures know that it takes place and do nothing to stop it.

As parents, our role should be to sit down with our children talk to them about the dangers of hazing, learn what is happening in their lives and to reinforce to them that hazing is not okay. No one should be forced to do activities that are increasingly dangerous against their will. The code of silence can only be broken, if we, as parents, actively take a stand and take time out of our busy lives to explain the dangers in a way that our children understand.

Alerting children of the dangers of hazing is our number one concern. If your child has suffered serious injuries from a hazing event, there can be a potential for a lawsuit, please call us on (214) 329-1350 to discuss further. To learn more about our services, please visit our website vanweylaw.com, your road to justice starts here.