There are a lot of misconceptions about hazing include the perception that hazing is little more than harmless pranks isolated to college fraternities.

Hazing may be considered an initiation or a right of passage. It’s a way for new or freshman members or players to gain acceptance from group or team veterans. It has long-been associated with college fraternities and sororities, but has existed at the high school level, especially in sports programs.

Most high schools have policies to address incidents of hazing.

Many of these “pranks” are harmless fun, but sometimes these harmless “pranks” can turn ugly and even illegal. When hazing or initiation pranks go too far, the possible danger of injury to individuals can result in criminal charges and/or lawsuits being filed against student participants and even jail-time if they are found guilty.

Hazing is defined as any activity expected of someone joining a group that humiliates, degrades, abuses or endangers, regardless of the person’s willingness to participate.
Traditional initiation requirements involve things like making the guys wear a dress and high heels to schools for the entire day or making the girls wear way too much make-up and stupid clothes and walk around the mall for the day. These kind of pranks are funny and nobody gets hurt; no harm – no foul.

Hazing becomes dangerous when participants get carried away and the pranks move from “fun” to humiliating and degrading. If you find yourself involved in a locker room prank that in your opinion (use your common sense!) has placed someone in a compromised position, remove yourself from the area. If you believe the prank is putting someone in actual physical danger, immediately inform a coach or teacher.

So, think hard and long before you participate If you are involved in a prank that turns ugly you could find your dreams of a college athletic career come to a screeching halt.

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