Peer pressure, particularly when combined with alcohol and/or drugs, can make even good kids do things they wouldn’t otherwise consider. It seems like we see examples of hazing rituals or pranks by college fraternities and athletic teams every year that turns deadly for victims.
A number of states, including Georgia, have enacted laws specifically aimed at those who participate in dangerous hazing behaviors. Georgia’s law, which took effect last year, is named after a young Georgia man who died from alcohol poisoning in a fraternity hazing in another state in 2017.
How is hazing defined?
Hazing isn’t limited to young men or to those in college fraternities or sports, but that’s where it seems to get the most out of control. Other kinds of clubs and groups engage in these practices as well. It could be done by one person or a group – although it’s usually a group.
Georgia’s hazing law defines it as “an activity which endangers or is likely to endanger the physical health of a student, or coerces the student…to consume any food, liquid, alcohol, drug, or other substance” that’s likely to make them intoxicated or make them throw up or pass out “regardless of a student’s willingness to participate in such activity.” The coercion doesn’t have to be physical. It can be through “social” pressure.
The responsibilities of Georgia schools
The law requires that both public and private colleges and universities in the state have policies for reporting and investigating hazing activities. They’re also required to post information about a hazing incident on their website for at least five years.
One of the Georgia lawmakers behind the legislation said the idea is that “having examples of where inappropriate conduct has caused harm to a young person and showing that they’ve been held accountable for that…will be the deterrent for young people making decisions.”
Of course, any parent of a college student knows that they don’t always make the best decisions – particularly when they’re in a group. If your child is facing charges related to hazing, it’s crucial that they have experienced legal guidance to help protect their rights and their future.