Hazing-type activities have been going on for a long time, probably hundreds, if not thousands of years. While hazing was tolerated if not encouraged in many situations in the past, these days, it’s highly frowned upon by high schools, colleges, law enforcement, and parents.
Under Texas law, “hazing” has to do with intentional reckless acts that occur on or off campuses, usually high school or college campuses. Hazing can be the act of one person alone or it can be an act that is carried out by two or more people. It endangers the health and safety of “pledges” or students for the purpose of pledging or initiating the person into a membership organization.
What Counts as Hazing?
Hazing comes in many forms. It includes all varieties of physical brutalities, such as paddling, whipping, branding, electric shock, punching, etc. It involves placing harmful substances on the body, sleep deprivation, exposure to the elements, confining a person in a small space, forcing the individual to drink excessive amounts of alcohol or swallow strange substances.
It can be any activity that places the individual at an unreasonable risk of harm, but it can also be anything that affects the student’s safety, physical or mental health. Hazing is also any activity that causes shame, extreme stress, humiliation, or affects the student’s dignity.
Hazing is a Crime in Texas
Texas has zero-tolerance for hazing; therefore, it is criminalized in the state. Under Texas law, it’s illegal to engage in hazing, encourage hazing, direct hazing, aid in hazing, or recklessly permit the hazing to take place.
- Failing to report hazing is a Class B misdemeanor in Texas.
- If the hazing did not cause serious bodily injury, the offense is a Class B misdemeanor.
- If the hazing caused serious bodily injury, it’s a Class A misdemeanor.
- If hazing causes death to the student, the offense is a state jail felony.