Hazing is not an accepted practice by the Haverford School District and cannot be tolerated or condoned in the athletic program.
Pennsylvania Hazing Law – TITLE 24. EDUCATION CHAPTER 20. HEALTH AND SAFETY ANTI-HAZING LAW
[P.S.] 5352. Definitions
The following words and phrases when used in this act shall have the meanings given to them in this section unless the context clearly indicates otherwise:
“HAZING.” Any action or situation which recklessly or intentionally endangers the mental or physical health or safety of a student or which willfully destroys or removes public or private property for the purpose of initiation or admission into or affiliation with, or as a condition for continued membership in, any organization operating under the sanction of or recognized as an organization by an institution of higher education. The term shall include, but not be limited to, any brutality of a physical nature, such as whipping, beating, branding, forced calisthenics, exposure to the elements, forced consumption of any food, liquor, drug or other substance, or any other forced physical activity which could adversely affect the physical health and safety of the individual, and shall include any activity which would subject the individual to extreme mental stress such as sleep deprivation, forced exclusion from social contact, forced conduct which could result in extreme embarrassment, or any other forced activity which could adversely affect the mental health or dignity of the individual, or any willful destruction or removal of public or private property. For purposes of this definition, any activity as described in this definition upon which the initiation or admission into or affiliation with or continued membership in an organization is directly or indirectly conditioned shall be presumed to be “forced” activity, the willingness of an individual to participate in such activity notwithstanding. “Institution of Higher Education” Or “Institution”: Any public or private institution within this Commonwealth authorized to grant an associate degree or higher academic degree.
§ 5353. Hazing prohibited
Any person who causes or participates in hazing commits a misdemeanor of the
§ 5354. Enforcement by institution
(a) Anti-hazing Policy: Each institution shall adopt a written anti-hazing policy and, pursuant to that policy, shall adopt rules prohibiting students or other persons associated with any organization operating under the sanction of or recognized as an organization by the institution from engaging in any activity which can be described as hazing.
(b) Enforcement and Penalties:
(1) Each institution shall provide a program for the enforcement of such rules and shall adopt appropriate penalties for violations of such rules to be administered by the person or agency at the institution responsible for the sanctioning or recognition of such organizations.
(2) Such penalties may include the imposition of fines, the withholding of diplomas or transcripts pending compliance with the rules or pending payment of fines and the imposition of probation, suspension or dismissal.
(3) In the case of an organization which authorizes hazing in blatant disregard of such rules, penalties may also include recision of permission for that organization to operate on campus property or to otherwise operate under the sanction or recognition of the institution.
(4) All penalties imposed under the authority of this section shall be in addition to any penalty imposed for violation of section 3 or any of the criminal law of this State or for violation of any other institutional rule to which the violator may be subject.
(5) Rules adopted pursuant hereto shall apply to acts conducted on or off campus whenever such acts are deemed to constitute hazing.
DEFINITION AND PERSPECTIVE
Hazing in high school sports programs is variously defined as a rite of passage, initiation or test of resilience that serves to authorize, permit or validate membership or status in athletics or activities. Other definitions contained in various state law prohibitions include: Recklessly or intentionally endangering the health or safety of a student, or inflicting bodily injury on a student in connection with or as a condition of membership in a club, organization, association, fraternity, sorority or student body, regardless of whether the student so endangered or injured participated voluntarily in the activity.
Examples include (but not limited to):
· Requiring candidates to steal, vandalize or commit law violations;
· Shaving, cutting hair or marking the body of candidates;
· Requiring public behaviors that provoke ridicule or sanctions by law enforcement and school authorities;
· Requiring candidates to dress or appear in a manner that proves public ridicule;
· Requiring consumption of noxious food substances, drugs or alcohol;
· Physical punishments or extended exercises;
· Requiring candidates to endure extreme temperature environments;
· Requiring candidates to assume a painful position for an extended period;
· Sexual activity or simulated sexual activity;
· Deprivation of sleep;
· Simulations of dangerous acts that cause fear or mental anxiety, regardless of the intention or the actual danger inherent;
· Creating any safety risk for a candidate including involuntary restraint;
· Mandated servitude; and
· Demeaning or profane references to the candidate.
Hazing activities and initiations are generally conducted by older members of athletics teams. Often, these players achieved an accepted peer or team status by enduring similar treatment at an earlier time. In addition, adult community residents often report a history of older relatives and acquaintances enduring similar mistreatment over the course of several years or even decades. Because these events occur without challenge over time, they are often deeply embedded within the culture of a school, community or team. As a result, these practices have been accepted as “normal” or “usual” until recent years.
More recently, courts and legislative enactments have rejected the usual justifications for hazing, such as “bonding, proving one’s courage or vale to a team, suppression of ego, consent and no-harm initiations.” At both the collegiate and high school levels, serious injuries, deaths and a worsening pattern of degrading treatment have caused these justifications to lose all credibility as defenses. Moreover, these justifications lose validity in light of contemporary legislation and court findings.
INJURIES AND DEATH
Regrettably, injuries and death have resulted from these practices. As a result, these tragedies have resulted in public protests, expressions of outrage and litigation. Among the more proactive efforts has been development of Web sites that are available to any person who desires to learn more about current trends in legislation, litigation and public responses.
The Web sites are: www.stophazing.com and www.hazing.hanknuwer.com.
Forty-two states have enacted legislation that prohibits hazing and institutes a range of penalties and sanctions for hazing violations. These include:
1) Definitions of hazing and planning that contribute to hazing as a serious misdemeanor or felony, depending on the severity of the incident and injury or loss suffered by the victim(s).
2) Mandatory fines of various levels related to the severity of the violation and court judgments.
3) Mandates to school districts to develop local policies designed to prevent or intervene hazing activities.
4) Mandatory fines for schools that fail to develop hazing prevention policies.
5) Mandatory requirements to report hazing and legislative immunity for those who report acts of hazing.
6) Loss of state financial assistance to schools or districts that do not enact local policies and measures to prevent or curtail hazing.
7) Legislative permission and encouragement to institute lawsuits in civil or federal courts.
8) Mandatory expulsions from high schools and universities for violators found guilty of hazing.
9) Legislation that invalidates traditional defenses, such as consent, willingness, tradition, unawareness and no-harm.
The legislative enactments cited above, coupled with the rapid increase in litigation and legal judgments, strongly indicate that hazing is no longer an accepted practice in high school sports programs.
Federal courts have defined the mission of schools as:
· To educate all students, with the emphasis on all;
· To provide a safe and orderly environment for students to learn in, and
· To protect the health, safety and welfare of all students.
School Districts are held to a higher standard when it comes to the protection and safety of students. Coaches must discuss and have an anti-hazing policy within their team rules and regulations. It is incumbent upon all teachers, coaches, administrators and parents to educate all children on the dangers and inappropriateness of hazing in any form.
IMPLICATIONS FOR HIGH SCHOOL ATHLETIC PERSONNEL
The athletic personnel have the responsibility to research and understand the anti- hazing laws that his or her state has enacted and to determine whether the Board of Education, state association or National Association of Independent Schools has adopted any policy on hazing or sexual harassment. Coaches’ handbooks, student and athletic handbooks, and codes of conduct for student-athletes should reflect these policies and implement strict prohibitions and consequences for participating in any hazing activities. Furthermore, the issue of hazing should be addressed in parent meetings and included in warning and prohibition statements that are signed by parents and student-athletes to ensure understanding.
Hazing has long been tolerated as a “necessary evil” and a community norm among high school athletics teams. As a result of recent serious injuries and deaths, this form of demeaning and dangerous abuse of power has been largely rejected as incompatible with human rights and educationally sound practices. Moreover, traditional justifications and defenses are no longer valid in light of contemporary legislation and litigation. In this regard, a majority of state legislatures have enacted prohibitions against these practices and litigation has been successfully initiated in civil, state and federal courts. Simply stated, hazing cannot and will not be tolerated in the Haverford School District athletic program.
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