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High School Hazing

Updated on January 6, 2016

Some believe that hazing builds lasting bonds. They're wrong.

All hazing does it perpetuate a culture of fear.
All hazing does it perpetuate a culture of fear. | Source

Is it ever too early to teach students about hazing? It’s true that many believe hazing education should be saved for college students. After all, hazing is a college problem. Or is it? Though hazing is certainly a growing problem at colleges and universities across the country, students often experience hazing long before they head off to college—in high school.

Hazing is prevalent among American high school students.

  • 48% of students who belong to groups reported being subjected to hazing.
  • 43% reported being subjected to humiliating activities.
  • 30% reported performing potentially illegal acts as part of their initiation.

High school students who join groups are at risk of being hazed.

  • Almost every type of high school group had significantly high levels of hazing.
  • More than one-third of new members of sports teams and cheerleading squads were hazed.
  • Vocational and church groups hazed about a quarter of their new members.
  • More than 20% of students were hazed to join music, art and theater groups.

Hazing starts early and continues through high school and college.

  • 25% reported being first hazed before the age of 13.
  • Hazing is as prevalent among high school students (22%) as among college athletes (21%).
  • Substance abuse in hazing is prevalent in high school (23%) and increases in college (51%).

Discourage the practice of hazing

The more we talk about hazing, the more we can learn.
The more we talk about hazing, the more we can learn. | Source

Nearly 75% of high school students who reported being hazed experienced one or more negative consequences.

  • Got into a fight (24%)
  • Injured (23%)
  • Fought with parents (22%)
  • Did poorly on school work (21%)
  • Hurt someone else (20%)
  • Missed school, practice, game, meeting (19%)
  • Had difficulty eating, sleeping, concentrating (18%)
  • Committed a crime (16%)
  • Considered suicide (15%)
  • Quit going out with friends (11%)
  • Got in trouble with police (10%)

These results suggest that hazing education cannot wait until college. By then, many students have already experienced hazing. Students need to be taught about hazing in high school, if not sooner, to avoid the negative consequences of hazing. In fact, students participating in the AlfredUniversity survey identified education and increased awareness about hazing, including the harm it can cause, as ways to prevent hazing in high school.

College students clearly benefit from hazing training. It provides an awareness and foundation that can help them avoid the emotional harm and physical injury that often results from hazing. Wouldn’t it do the same thing for high school students?

When can it start?

Early intervention may be the best option to prevent a tragedy.


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