The Thirty Minute Blogger

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Monday, May 7, 2012

Parents: Protect Your Children from Hazing

Don't let someone you love walk unwittingly into harmful hazing situations
The appalling death of Florida A&M drum major Robert Champion has put a much needed spotlight on the evils of hazing. Hazing happens in all communities, among all socioeconomic classes, in schools from middle school onward, and in many professions. In recent years, hazing "initiations" have become increasingly violent.

Parents: teach your children that hazing rituals, primitive group mob behavior, are never to be tolerated. Teach them that no one has the right to violate their bodies under any circumstances. Warn them that if a group leader seems aggressive, even violent, then that is a group to be avoided. If members of the group warn of the possibility of violence, tell your children to leave immediately. Help prevent future deaths among innocent people by equipping your children to steer clear of hazing rituals and be proactive in preventing these crimes, and when they reach the level of mistreatment that Robert Champion suffered before his death, this is criminal behavior by a mob. Make sure in school groups there is plenty of adult supervision and hold those adults personally responsible for each child's safety. (While not a hazing incident, when our son was in high school, he was at a wrestling match at another school and a personal item was stolen from his backpack. I made it my responsibility to call the school and get it straightened out. Speaking to the vice principal I asked some very pointed questions about who had access to the gym during the match, who was supervising, and whether or not I should be bringing the police in on this matter of theft [too small to be of interest to the police I'm sure but worth saying]. The next day I received a call from the school our son had visited and the personal item had been recovered. You have more power than you think parents.)

Today over 60% of people believe psychological hazing is fine and 32% believe suffering physical abuse during hazing is acceptable. Children who know adults who have been hazed are more likely to be hazed themselves. So, parents, it is important for you to model behavior you want your children to follow and avoid actions you wish them to avoid. Don't let yourself be involved in hazing crimes either.

For a great deal more information and useful resources on hazing, see: http://www.insidehazing.com/ 
http://www.stophazing.org/index.html
http://www.umich.edu/~nohazing/resources.html
http://www.hazinglaw.com/hazing-resources

There are many more to be found, encouragingly a large number by colleges.

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