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.
Schools Tend to Claim Innocence
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.
What Is Hazing?
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. 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 Lawyers P.C. are experienced in handling cases involving hazing and school violence. We work with local prosecutors and law enforcement to ensure that justice is served.
The Law and Project SAVE
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 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.