Hazing Prevention Week Sept. 24-28
September 24, 2018
National Hazing Prevention Week, (NHPW) is September 24- 28, 2018!
NHPW is an opportunity for campuses, schools, communities, organizations and individuals to raise awareness about the problem of hazing, educate others about hazing, and promote the prevention of hazing. HazingPrevention.Org, is the organizer of National Hazing Prevention Week (NHPW).
NHPW is an opportunity to educate students, parents, teachers, coaches, administrators, faculty, staff, athletic directors, band and performing arts directors, residence hall leadership, student government leaders, community members, local and campus police and others to not just recognize hazing but to learn ways they can prevent it from occurring in the first place.
WHAT HAZING LOOKS LIKE
DEFINITION - Hazing is any action taken or any situation created intentionally that causes embarrassment, harassment or ridicule and risks emotional and/or physical harm to members of a group or team, whether new or not, regardless of the person's willingness to participate.
Some definitions of hazing vary but all have common factors:
- Power differential between those in a group and those who want to join a group, or between senior and junior members of a group
- Intentional initiation rite, practice or "tradition" involved
- Willingness to participate does not absolve responsibility for either party
EXAMPLES OF HAZING
Below are just some examples of hazing practices that occur:
- Forced activities for new recruits to "prove" their worth to join
- Forced or required consumption of alcohol
- Requirement to eat spicy foods, other substances
- Requirement to endure hardships such as staying awake, menial tasks, physical labor, running while blindfolded, etc.
- Humiliation of new or potential members
- Isolation of new or potential members
- Beatings, paddling, or other physical acts against new or potential members
- Requirements for new or potential members to do things established members are not required to do
- Illegal activities such as requirement to steal local items as part of a scavenger hunt
DID YOU KNOW?
- Hazing occurs in sports teams, clubs, Greek life, cheerleading, honor societies and more
- Hazing is often about power and control. Hazing does not build unity
- More than half of students in colleges and universities involved in clubs, sports teams and organizations have experienced hazing
- A significant number of hazing incidents and deaths involve alcohol consumption
- Students are more likely to be hazed if they knew an adult who was hazed
- 2 in 5 students say they are aware of hazing taking place on their campus
- Hazing occurs in middle schools, high schools and colleges
- Both male and female students report a high level of hazing
IS THIS HAZING?
If you're not sure whether or not something happening to you or to someone else is hazing, ask yourself these questions:
- Would I feel comfortable participating in this activity if my parents were watching?
- Would we get in trouble if a school/college administrator walked by and saw us?
- Am I being asked to keep these activities a secret?
- Am I doing anything illegal?
- Does participation in this activity violate my values or those of this organization?
- Is this causing emotional or physical distress or stress to myself or to others?
- Am I going to be able to get a job if I have to put a criminal arrest on my application?
WHAT YOU CAN DO
If you witness a hazing incident or someone is in danger call 911. There is also a national anti-hazing hotline (1-888-668-4293).
If you want to report a hazing incident or a suspected incident that is not immediately putting someone in danger, contact your campus security office, your organization's headquarters and/or other state or local designated reporting. Many schools and organizations require that you report what you witness!
FAMILIARIZE YOURSELF WITH LOCAL POLICIES AND LAWS
Every school, college or university, national organization, athletic department and workplace has an anti-hazing policy and most, a procedure for reporting violations of that policy. Make sure you know what those policies are and be prepared to use the reporting process if necessary. Nearly every state in the U.S. has laws against hazing as well, which means it's a misdemeanor or felony that should be reported to law enforcement. You can find state laws here: http://hazingprevention.org/home/hazing/statelaws/
WHAT PARENTS NEED TO KNOW
Each year tens of thousands of young men and women get involved at schools and organizations across the country. Whether it's a marching band, fraternity, sorority, military affiliated group, summer camp, athletic team, or any of the dozens of other student groups, your student is seeking a place to make friends, enjoy social opportunities, practice leadership skills or just try something new.
The majority of student organizations and teams provide amazing, positive experiences for their members. However, some organizations engage in negative behaviors known as hazing - acts of humiliation or demeaning tasks meant to "prove" an individual's commitment and worthiness to joining a group.
Hazing has existed for centuries, and schools and colleges are going to great lengths to prevent it. It is important for you and your student to educate yourself to prevent or report any hazing that does occur.
Hazing comes in many forms and definitions may vary, but it is generally agreed that hazing is any action taken, or situation created intentionally that causes embarrassment, harassment or ridicule, risks emotional and/or physical harm to members of a group or team whether new or not, regardless of a person's willingness to participate.
The legal definition may vary from state to state but trust your common sense. Here are a number of activities that may be considered hazing by your school or organization:
- Activities meant to "earn" a place within an organization or team that seem inconsistent with someone's character or values
- Activities that are embarrassing or mentally/physically abusive
- Forces or coerced abuse of alcohol
- Personal servitude or meaningless tasks
WARNING SIGNS OF HAZING
Your student may or may not feel comfortable expressing concern directly to you if being hazed. Here are some key things to look for that might help you identify whether or not your student may be experiencing hazing:
- Sudden change in behavior or attitude after joining the organization or team
- Wanting to leave the organization or team with no real explanation
- Sudden decrease in communication with friends and family
- Physical or psychological exhaustion
- Unexplained weight loss
- Unexplained injuries or illness
- Change in sleeping or eating habits
- Withdrawal from normal activities
- Expressed feeling of sadness or feeling of worthlessness
- Increase in secrecy and unwillingness to share details
Talk to your student if you see any of these signs. If your conversations leave you with unresolved concern or direct suspicion of hazing, then you need to take your concerns higher. Contact the organization advisor or team coach.
You can expect an official to have a confidential discussion with you before launching an investigation into the organization's activities. In most cases your student's name will not be used, unless he or she comes forward and files a complaint.
There are positive ways for organizations and teams to build loyalty and a sense of belonging. But many times they need the support of advisors, coaches and you to make the positive change. Your actions can help promote strong student organizations and teams, creating a positive experience for every student.
TALK TO YOUR STUDENT ABOUT HAZING
It's important to take a proactive role in fighting hazing. Each year, hundreds if not thousands of students are involved in hazing. What some consider "tradition" or "paying your dues" can turn into a truly dangerous or deadly event. Simply put, hazing's potential for harm "both physical and psychological" is tremendous. Please join schools across the country in taking a proactive stance against hazing by talking to your student about hazing as they become involve in student organizations and teams.
QUESTIONS TO ASK YOUR STUDENT BEFORE HE OR SHE JOINS AN ORGANIZATION OR TEAM
- What activities do you think you want to be involved in at school?
- Do you know what hazing is?
- How can you stand up or say "no" if it occurs?
- What are resources online or at school you can utilize if you experience hazing?
- Do you know your school's policies on hazing and consequences if caught?
- Do you know how to report hazing?
QUESTIONS TO ASK AFTER INVOLVEMENT BEGINS
- What organizations or teams are you involved in?
- How much time are you spending on the organization or team?
- What kinds of activities are involved in joining this group or team? Are you comfortable with all of these? Is there adult supervision and/or approval of these activities?
- Is alcohol involved in any of these activities?
- Have you met the organization's advisor or coach? Do they approve of these activities?
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