Hazing is a prominent issue amongst young adults, especially in the high school and college setting. When people think about hazing, their mind usually flashes to scenes of a fraternity or sorority where freshmen endure bizarre pledging traditions in order to join the organizations. While the event might seem harmless on television or in a movie, hazing has many consequences and is a bigger problem than many believe.
What is Hazing?
Although the word has been used freely, do you really know what hazing means? According to Ohio statutes,
<blockquote cite="http://www.stophazing.org/ohio/">hazing means doing any act or coercing another, including the victim, to do any act of initiation into any student or other organization that causes or creates a substantial risk of causing mental or physical harm to any person.</blockquote>
The state considers engagement in hazing activities a crime. Ohio categorizes hazing crimes as fourth degree misdemeanors. If an individual is charged with this crime, they can face a month in jail and may have to pay up to $250. Misdemeanors are minor crimes that will remain on your criminal record forever. For a young adult, this can damage their professional and personal prospects.
How Often Does Hazing Occur and Where?
Hazing occurs quite often on high school and college campuses. Research shows that over half of college students in clubs and organizations experience hazing activities of some sort. The incidents occur in a broad spectrum of clubs and teams.
The main organizations where students experience hazing includes:
- 74% in varsity athletics
- 73% in a fraternity or sorority
- 64% in club sports
- 56% in the performing arts
Students reported to suffering drinking games, verbal abuse, sleep deprivation, social manipulation, and more. Of the students who experienced hazing, 25% believed that their coaches or advisors were aware of what was happening. Another 25% of students suspected that alumni were present during the hazing activities.
What it Means for You if You are Accused of Hazing
Ohio takes hazing charges very seriously. Many consequences can ensue if you are charged with the crime.
Some consequences of hazing charges include:
- Legal action that can result in jail time and monetary penalties
- Disciplinary measures taken by the school
- Actions taken against the organization you are a part of
- Personal distress
- A decline of reputation
Hazing charges are serious matters. If you or your child has been accused of hazing or have adverse actions taken against you by the school, it is important that you contact an experienced attorney. At The Koffel Law Firm, our Columbus lawyers are well versed in high school and college related crimes. We believe that you have the right to a fair trial and due process. Call us today for a case review and learn the legal steps you can take.