An Ohio University freshman died in November 2018 after medical professionals found him unresponsive at a fraternity where he was pledging. The student’s death was later determined to be asphyxiation as the result of nitrous oxide ingestion. The student’s family alleges that the student had been pelted with eggs, hit with a belt, and repeatedly punched before passing away.
The lawsuit also claims that the fraternity forced the student to drink alcohol and take drugs. The case, in turn, prompted an Ohio state representative to alter Ohio’s existing law to create more severe penalties. Legislatures argue that fraternities and sororities are currently shortening their pledge period but continuing to haze after initiation to escape punishment under existing laws.
Currently, data compiled by Stophazing.org reveals that more than 55% of students have experienced some form of hazing. Given these changes, all parents need to understand some important details about hazing in Ohio.
Existing Ohio Hazing Law
Ther Ohio Revised Code 2903.31 defines hazing as any act or coercing of someone to do any act that creates a substantial risk of causing mental or physical harm to any individual. Hazing in Ohio is classified as a fourth-degree misdemeanor that requires a court to issue a definite jail term of not more than 30 days. Individuals accused of hazing can be the subject of civil penalties, as well. Civil actions frequently involve financial compensation for damages including mental and physical pain.
Common Types of Hazing
There are several common types of hazing:
- Physical hazing, This type of hazing can include anything from minor interference to serious harm. One particularly troubling type of physical hazing prevalent at colleges is sexual hazing in which degrading acts occur. Some of the most threatening types of sexual abuse include gang rape and being forced to perform sexual acts. Alcohol abuse is also a common type of physical hazing, which involves forcing someone to drink alcohol in a dangerous way.
- Harassment hazing. This category includes more subdued attempts to create mental anguish or discomfort in a person. Some of the most common types of hazing in this category include verbal abuse and silent treatment.
Steps Parents can Take to Combat Hazing
There are several steps that parents can take to reduce the dangers associated with hazing, which include:
- Encourage children to create friendships in various settings instead of in just one group.
- Encourage your child to research the organizations they are debating joining.
- Remind your teen that hazing can be reported to campus officials.
- Talking to teens about hazing and its associated dangers
Speak with an Ohio Hazing Lawyer Today
If you are a student or the parent of a student injured by hazing, I can help you! I have helped families pursue compensation and know what it takes to create the best legal strategy possible. Call me today 877.944.4373 and I’ll Make Them Pay!®.