A new law now requires that the consequences of hazing extend middle and high school students, and schools need to adapt their policies to reflect the new law and provide those policies to coaches. They also must post the policies on their district websites.
In the past, state anti-hazing laws in Pennsylvania only applied to college students. However, in the wake of violence in high school and middle school on sports teams, anti-hazing laws were seen as necessary for younger students as well.
According to Susan Guerette, a lawyer specializing in education law with the firm Fisher Phillips, the new law applies to public and private schools. “It is important,” she said. “We’re having a lot of hazing incidents.”
Just the present of an anti-hazing policy tells students that hazing consequences are serious. School consequences could include criminal penalties as well as expulsion. There is also the possibility that sports teams could be disbanded or suspended.
Guerette believes that having a policy apply to students in seventh grade means that districts are being proactive about preventing hazing.