College should be an experience full of adventure, learning, and growing for students. Unfortunately for some of these students, the college experience is ruined by immature and mean-spirited acts of hazing in fraternities and sororities. There are physical and psychological effects from such hazing events. In 2019, the Florida legislature passed a new set of Hazing Laws that could apply to situations that take in place in fraternities and sororities.
Law makers are cracking down on hazing across the country, but in Florida especially. The laws have evolved with the unfortunate nature of hazing. It should be noted that the absence from a particular hazing event is no longer looked at as a lack of involvement in the eyes of law enforcement. Even if an individual was not physically present at the hazing event, if he or she helped plan it, he or she can be subject to criminal charges. While this provision will most likely affect organization leaders, the new law could also hold school administrator’s responsible. This new provision is meant to act as a catch-all regardless of an individual’s level of involvement, as in the past general chapter members have gotten away with hazing, while only the heavily involved and officers were charged.
The new law is called Andrew’s Law, named after Andrew Coffey, a Florida State Univesity student who died in 2017 from alcohol poisoning. He was participating in a fraternity ritual where he was required to drink an entire fifth of alcohol, following the instructions from his “big brother”. Andrew was 20 years old when he died with a blood alcohol level nearly six times the legal limit, after falling into unconsciousness and being left alone until the next day. Florida State Univesity’s Greek Life program was altered by the school’s president after Andrew’s death. The Chad Meredith Act was also signed in 2005 following the hazing death of a University of Miami student who died tragically in a fraternity hazing incident in 2001. The Act made hazing a first-degree misdemeanor and a third-degree felony if a victim was seriously injured or killed.
Proper supervision at a day care center includes ongoing monitoring during nap time. It should be noted that nap time is not the time for a day care center worker to attend to other tasks and children There are risks associated with nap time including but not limited to suffocation and oxygen deprivation. This is especially applicable to infants and toddlers. Timely intervention in the form of removing an object from the child’s access, turning and repositioning the child, and CPR can and does save the lives of children at risk during nap time.
The Center for Disease Control reports that about 3,500 children die in their sleep every year. Excluding Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), the most common cause of sleep-related deaths is accidental suffocation. There are a number of precautions a parent can take to ensure the safety of their infant or toddler, but there is still a risk if the child attends a day care. Day care centers also must work to provide a safe environment during nap time. One of the most important precautions caregivers must take while putting a baby or infant down for a nap is to place the child on their back. This reduces the risk of SIDS by providing the maximum amount of oxygen for a child. Day care centers should provide a child a stable surface for sleep time or nap time like a firm mattress in a crib. Similarly, soft objects, like stuffed animals, and loose bedding should be removed from the crib. The primary job of a caretaker during nap time is to keep a watchful eye on all the sleeping infants and toddlers. It is vital that day care center workers provide their full, undivided attention on the children. When a parent is looking at day cares, they need to make sure that the caregivers have the proper training, such as CPR. Simple precautions like taking the time to watch infants and toddlers during naptime without distractions can save lives.
It was reported in Lansing, Illinois, where a ten month old child suffocated in his sleep while left unattended at a day care for over two hours. It was noted by media reports that there were no attempts at CPR by any of the day care center workers. The parents later filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the day care center.
In the State of Florida, it is a crime for a person to haze another person. It is not a defense to the action if the hazing, abuse, or pressure is connected to admission, entry, or membership into an organization, club, fraternity, or sorority. It should be noted that the crime of hazing is different from a prior and element standpoint than a civil case on behalf of a victim subjected to hazing acts like physical abuse or drinking games that lead to serious injury or even death of the victim, pledge, or applicant. With respect to a civi case involving negligence or abusive conduct, there are four elements to establish:
Breach of Duty;
In Jacksonville, Florida and other cities, drivers should be on the look out for pedestrians and bicyclists especially those who are young children. Drivers should slow down in school zones, residential areas, crosswalks, and anywhere else there may be a child pedestrian or child bicyclist. It should be noted that Florida is a comparative fault state. As such, the injured child and / or parents of an injured child can bring a legal action for personal injuries or wrongful death even if the child may have been partially at fault for the incident or accident. It should also be noted that children under the age of 6 years old cannot be held to be negligent or at fault as a matter of law in the State of Florida.
A recent tragedy was reported in Jacksonville, Florida. It was reported that a child was hit by a vehicle while attempting to cross a street with other children at the intersection of A1A and the Wonderwood Connector in Mayport – Jacksonville Florida. It was reported by the local media that the driver continued through the intersection on a yellow light. It was also reported that the child, who ultimately died as a result of the pedestrian – vehicle accident related personal injuries, was in the sixth grade. You can read more about this story at Boy Hit While Crossing the Street in Jacksonville, Florida (Mayport).
The wrongful death of a child has a ripple effect through the family, neighborhood, school, and community. It is heartbreaking for the parents and extended family. It is extremely upsetting for the school. It can be quite a bewildering experience to have a friend / classmate sit in front of a student one day and then never to return because of a tragic pedestrian accident.