We always thought schools were supposed to be safe. Times have certainly changed. Hazing – the practice of assault, intimidation, humiliation and degradation as a rite of passage – has become an all too common occurrence for vulnerable children. Whether it happens at a college fraternity, high school locker room, dorm room or military academy, hazing and school violence are responsible for a surprising number of injuries and deaths every year. The physical trauma caused by these incidents, however, is just the beginning.
No parent ever wants to receive a call from school alerting them that their loved one was injured. For many parents, this fear becomes a reality when they learn that their child has been physically beaten or assaulted. What makes the situation even worse is when the school, which was supposed to be a safe place for your child, says the injury was “unforeseeable” and there was “nothing they could do to prevent it.”
Schools and other educational institutions are responsible for the supervision of every child at their facility. State law now mandates that all public schools implement and enforce strict codes of conduct to ensure that dangerous students are monitored when it is believed they represent a potential risk to other children. Nevertheless, school violence and hazing are on the rise.
In New York, a person is guilty of hazing when he/she intentionally or recklessly engages in conduct which creates a substantial risk of physical injury to another person. In 2000, New York enacted the most comprehensive legislation plan in the nation, called Project SAVE (Safe Schools Against Violence in Education). SAVE was developed to promote a safer and more effective learning environment within New York State’s schools. Under the New York law, dangerous students cannot be allowed to remain in classrooms where other children are at risk. Moreover, when an assault does occur, it must be thoroughly reported and documented. Other states have since followed New York’s lead in producing legislation to protect students.
School violence often takes the form of hazing. Hazing can occur in many different forms and has a dramatic impact on those who are involved. Hazing activities, which were once considered tradition, are now widely viewed as physically, emotionally and psychologically abusive. The attorneys at Schwartzapfel Partners are experienced in handling cases involving hazing and school violence. We work with local prosecutors and law enforcement to ensure that justice is served.
If you or a loved one have been injured in a hazing incident, please call us at (516) 342-2200 or fill out our online contact form for immediate attention to your case.