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 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). When your whole existence is high school, you think your parents know nothing (yes this occurs in high school), and you think you know it all, why tell? It may bring trouble on you and the "popular" kids. Your life will be over. 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. Sometimes this type of conduct gets recategorized from hazing to 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 their kid can be disciplined, suspended or even expelled for "making another boy eat dirt," or "insisting that Joey drink 15 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.
Education Law Attorney
LAW OFFICE OF MICHELLE BALL
717 K Street, Suite 228
Sacramento, CA 95814