What is hazing? According to hazingprevention.org, it’s “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.”
While hazing frequently happens at college campuses and fraternities, it also occurs in cheerleading, sports teams like football and wrestling, clubs, honor societies, and more. And like other states, New Jersey has enacted an anti-hazing statutes under § 2C:40-3.
A person commits aggravated hazing under Sec. 2C:40-3 if he or she knowingly or recklessly organizes, promotes, or engages in conduct that endangers another’s safety and places them at risk of bodily harm. In other words, hazing is a crime.
Tougher Penalties for Hazing
In November, nj.com reported on a New Jersey law maker who wants to enhance the penalties for hazing after Penn State student, Timothy Piazza, 19, died after drinking way too much and being hazed at a Penn State University fraternity.
“Piazza was injured by falling down a set of basement steps, after which fraternity members made inept and even counterproductive efforts to help him. The house's security video captured his excruciating night on a first-floor couch, including him stumbling in the darkness and falling,” reported nj.com.
Was your son or daughter hazed? If you’re not sure, ask him or her these questions:
- Would you be comfortable participating in the activity if we (your parents) were watching?
- Would the school’s administrator discipline you if they saw the activities?
- Are you doing anything that’s against the law?
- Are you being told to keep the activities a secret?
- Does participating in the activity violate your morals and values?
- Is the activity causing you emotional or physical distress?
Unfortunately, students or “pledges” have suffered serious injuries and even death as a direct result of hazing activities at fraternities, sororities, high schools, college campuses, and related educational institutions. If your child has suffered undue harm because of hazing, they may have grounds to file a personal injury claim.
Contact our New Jersey personal injury firm to learn more about hazing abuse claims.