Can Students Be Arrested for Hazing Related Acts in Florida?


Hazing in Florida schools and colleges is unfortunately a problem that permeates vritually every school. Bullying in any form is unacceptable regardless of the history or tradition. In some instances, the Sheriff’s Office and State Attorney’s Office pursue criminal charges against perpetrators of hazing related acts. While the injuries should not be the defining factor of the criminal case, often times the decision to charge or not to charge a student for hazing related acts turns on the severity of the injuries.

The death of FAMU band member – Robert Champion – has made headline news for many months. The case received a lot of press and media because it did involve a death and also involved a well known and prestigious band program at FAMU. Unfortunately, the culture of hazing has been present in the FAMU band program for years. The death of Robert Champion resulted in multiple arrests. It furthermore resulted in the assessment and reassessment of the policies and procedures for a university (FAMU) as well as a review of the entire band program. Certainly, the death of a student due to hazing demands action. Furthermore, the injury (whether emotional and / or physical) to a child from hazing related activities that do not result in death also demand action by the school and law enforcement.

Unfortunately, many acts of bullying go unnoticed and unpunished in many schools and communities. It is not always so easy to prove the acts of bullying or the harm caused to the child. Furthermore, schools and law enforcement have heavy work loads and case loads and cannot always properly investigate or respond to each and every report of bullying. In many instances, the parent needs to be proactive to get school administrators and / or law enforcement to take action or respond to incidents of bullying.

If a child has been the victim of a bully in a school, sports club, or other location / activity, it is important to review the bullying and disciplinary policies for the school or club. Many organizations and schools now have a policy and procedure in place for dealing with reports of bullying. Each bullying incident is unique because each child is different. Because of this, there is no “golden rule” for handling or responding to a bullying incident.

At times, it is helpful to have the advice and representation of a Florida Child Injury Lawyer when there is a problem with bullying. Typically, a Florida Child Injury Lawyer focuses his case work on matters resulting in a physical injury necessitating medical care. However, there are instances in which a lawyer will take on a case when the injuries are purely emotional ones when the conduct is egregious and there is a viable case to pursue against an individual, business, and / or school.

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