The stories of hazing have long been associated with the lifestyle of college co-eds, often in the form of initiation tactics. But a new study has found that 47 percent of high school students have been the victim of some form of hazing (in a previous study, 48 percent of high school students who belong to a group or organization had been hazed). No one sub-set of students is involved either, finding that athletic groups, the performing arts or even yearbook staff have been hazed.
Hazing is defined as “subjection to harassment or ridicule,” and in the case of these students it can take the form of childish pranks to drinking games, of which eight percent of students say they drank to the point of passing out. It’s all a part of that peer pressure to feel part of the in crowd, and the study authors say students often find themselves a part of situations they wouldn’t otherwise.
“That group dynamic can lead to the escalation where you have the hazing that’s been reported in the news, some horrendous incidents,” says Mary Madden, co-author of the study from University of Maine‘s College of Education and Human Development.
Groups in which hazing had the highest incidence of occurrence include:
- Athletic teams – 47%
- ROTC – 46%
- Bands/Performing Arts – 34%
The method of hazing varied from embarrassing to dangerous:
- Association only with peer group – 28%
- Sing or chant in public – 21%
- Succumb to verbal abuse – 19%
- Sleep deprivation – 12%
- Tattoo or piercing – 12%
- Drinking games – 12%
There is growing concern that these hazing acts are becoming much more sexual in nature, too. Examples include forcing cheerleaders to undress and shave before their peers, or males and females forced to mimic sex acts.
Study authors are calling for more education of educators to better understand hazing, to differentiate these acts from bullying, and to educate students about the dangers. Hazing amongst college students has occurred for quite some time, but these dangerous acts are trickling into high schools with concern they’ve started reaching middle school students. As parents and teachers would educate students about the dangers of sex, drugs or alcohol, this too should be a priority.
Source: USA Today