Last Updated on March 17, 2021 by Michelle Ball
Luckily, the rumored “hazing” never happened, but what if it did? Would I have told? Not likely. What if I joined some team and was put through strange rituals involving eating disgusting items, having clothing items removed, sitting for long periods tied to a chair or locked in a closet. What then? Nothing unless the school found out and then all hell would break loose.
Who hasn’t heard of this going on? Didn’t we all grow up daring kids to do things and testing their bravery? They could be considered to have hazed.
The problem with hazing offenses, however, is the secrecy of them and the lack of reporting until things get way out of hand. Initiation rituals for a football team or other school group do occur, but who tells? Not many kids. In fact, students are likely scared to death to tell as they may be ostracized for life (high school = life). Instead, kids sit and take it; take the abuse, taunts, and cruel treatment to “belong.”
Sometimes hazing makes headlines, when a student kills themselves after humiliation, or after a kid is injured and sent to the hospital as a result of hazing. Hazing conduct may also get recategorized as harassment, bullying, sexual battery or assault. I have seen inappropriate locker room activities end in expulsion, not under “hazing,” but rather as sexual offenses.
Parents need to be aware this occurs and know not only that students can be disciplined, suspended or even expelled for “making another boy eat dirt,” or “insisting that Joey drink 2 cans of beer,” but that hazing could be occurring to their child right under their noses. It is critical that parents stay alert to this so their child does not end up in the hospital or expelled, as a result of a hazing prank gone bad, for them or for someone else.
[Posted on September 8, 2014, updated July 15, 2020]
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