Hazing commonly occurs at middle schools, high schools and colleges. In Texas, “hazing” refers to an intentional, reckless act that occurs either on or off campus of an educational institution. It can be carried out by one individual who acts alone, or by a group of individuals and is directed against a student. Hazing is dangerous. It endangers the physical and emotional safety of students or “pledges” who are being initiated into or gaining membership into an organization, such as a college fraternity or sorority.
Examples of hazing include but are not limited to:
- Sleep deprivation,
- Exposure to the elements,
- Confinement in a small space,
- Any activity that involves consuming alcohol, food, liquid, a drug, or another substance that subjects the student to a dangerous risk of harm,
- Anything that subjects the student to humiliation or mental distress,
- Any physical violence or brutality, such as beating, whipping, paddling, electric shock, or branding,
- Placing a harmful substance into the victim’s body, and
- Isolating a new or potential member.
According to hazingprevention.org, hazing isn’t limited to colleges. It also occurs within sports teams, Greek life, honor societies, clubs, and cheerleading. If you’re concerned about your son or daughter and believe they have been hazed, as yourself these questions: Would my child feel comfortable engaging in these activities in front of me? Would my child get in trouble if the school administrator walked in and saw it happening? Is my child being asked to keep these activities a secret? Is my child doing anything illegal? Does my child’s participation in this activity violate the morals of society and the values we taught him or her? Is this activity causing my child emotional or physical distress?
Filing a Lawsuit for Hazing
Hazing can be extremely dangerous and historically, has led to unreasonable deaths of students. Not only that, but in Texas hazing is a crime under Section 37.151 of the Texas Education Code. Under the state’s law on hazing, it can be a “personal” or an “organizational” offense. To learn more, click here. As a parent, the thought of your child enduring physical or mental distress because of hazing is troubling, sometimes extremely so. If your son or daughter has been a victim of hazing, we urge you to contact our Plano personal injury firm to discuss filing a personal injury claim for compensation.
Related: Wrongful Death Claims in Texas
If you’re worried that your child consented to the hazing, under Sect. 37.154 of the Educational Code, consent is not a defense, so you don’t have to worry about that barring you from filing a claim.