The Life You Save May Be Your Own
WARNING SIGNS: Hazing may skid into the hazardous zone when:
- The leaders of the group are very aggressive, and intimidating.
- You have heard rumors from your peers about activities that are hazardous.
- Your gut is churning and you sense danger.
- You have been warned by authorities that the group has a reputation for being extreme.
- You don't want to acknowledge it, but you have witnessed some events which are dangerous or are inconsistent with your own morals and values.
- You feel stuck. You are already involved and do not know how to get out of the group or process.
RESPONSIBILITY: There are many kinds of responsibilities, some legal, some ethical. Each state and each school has different laws and policies and therefore it is impossible to predict who may be held responsible. In general, you are responsible for yourself.
Your presence or absence may count towards responsibility. For example, even though you did not actively hurt someone, you also made no attempt to stop it, get help or report it.
You may be held responsible for your lack of actions. Obviously if you participated in some hazardous behavior you may be held responsible. In the end, many people get away with a lot, but some get into deep trouble.
WHAT CAN YOU DO?
- Depending on your position in the group (status, degree of power) you can try to influence others to think before they act, and to consider the long-term consequences.
- Create connections with your peers, and have a plan of action in case a dangerous situation arises.
- IF YOU ARE A BYSTANDER, DO NOT GO AGAINST THE GROUP ALONE. Unless you are in a powerful position of leadership, opposing the group as an individual will cause you pain and suffering. It you can organize the group to act together to prevent the perpetrators and the victims from getting into trouble than do it. If not, do not try to stop violence alone. However, you can try to get help or report the incident as an individual - either anonymously or by revealing your identity.
- Teach your children that no one has the right to violate their body.
- Model behaviors which you want them to imitate.
- Protect your child by making the school and other authorities accountable for the actions of their staffs.
- Demonstrate by doing; therefore have your child see you organize as a group in order to fight for a cause.
- Support your children when they sense danger or injustice. Discuss actions that they might do.
- Teach them, at the appropriate age, (middle school) about hazardous hazing.
- If you are a bystander in any situation, consider your options and explain them to your child.
- Before your children are in a situation without adult supervision, have discussions about responsibility and consequences - legal and ethical.
- When relevant, check to see the kinds of adult supervision, rules and laws that are in place for the location that your children will be in.
- Have complete information about the place where your child may be when under the supervision of others. Make sure you can contact them and vice-versa.
- Let your child know, that regardless of the stated policy, if there is a true emergency, where they are significantly threatened, that they can reach you by phone; and that they should call.