Dangers and Risks of Hazing in Florida Schools – What Is Florida’s Hazing Statute?

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In Florida, children enrolled in elementary, middle, and high schools are at risks for hazing incidents. Even when a child enters and goes to college, a child is still at risks for injuries (both physical and psychological) from hazing related events and rituals.

When personal injuries result from hazing related activities, a Florida Child Injury Lawyer can represent the child in a claim or case against the school and, in some instances, the homeowner’s insurance for other children involved in the bullying activities. The legal and insurance issues involving in hazing related personal injury cases can be extremely complicated. Because of this, it is often times helpful to have legal representation to enforce the rights of the child victim of bullying.

Florida enacted Section 1006.135, Florida Statutes in an effort to prevent or reduce the incidents of hazing. This Florida criminal statute makes certain hazing activities of third degree felony or a first degree misdemeanor depending on the facts of the case.

How is “Hazing” defined under Florida Law? Pursuant to Section 1006.135 (1), Florida Statutes, hazing is defined as “any action or situation that recklessly or intentionally endangers the mental or physical health or safety of a student . . . ” and includes pressuring or coercing the student into violating state or federal law, any brutality of a physical nature, such as whipping, beating, branding, exposure to the elements, forced consumption of any food, liquor, drug, or other substance, or other forced physical activity that could adversely affect the physical health or safety of the student, and also includes any activity that would subject the student to extreme mental stress, such as sleep deprivation, forced exclusion from social contact, forced conduct that could result in extreme embarrassment, or other forced activity that could adversely affect the mental health or dignity of the student. ”

Many people do not like the term “hazing” but prefer to use the term “tradition”, “ritual”, or “fun”. Whatever label or name that is applied, there should be no mistaking bad conduct that results in physical or emotional injury or harm to a child. The death of Robert Champion brought to light the dangers and evils of hazing. Robert Champion was a member of the FAMU Marching Band which is an organization that is well known throughout the country. In prior years, the FAMU Marching Band was known for his music, style, and performances. Unfortunately, with the death of Robert Champion and accounts of other hazing incident, the FAMU Band is now known for something quite different than musical performances. What has been a tradition and ritual of sorts can and does cause serious personal injuries and, in some instances death. See Final Autopsy Report of Robert Champion Details Personal Injuries of College Student.

The book titled The ABCs of Child Injury – Legal Rights of the Injured Child – What Ever Parent Should Know – has chapters on School Injuries, Day Care Center Injuries, Automobile Accidents, Damages / Compensation, Medical Bills / Medical Treatment, and other topics. You can receive a free copy of this book at The ABCs of Child Injury.