Proposed Legislation Designed to Discourage Hazing Conduct in Georgia
Although hazing has been a rite of passage in many fraternities and sororities around the country, hazing incidents are now becoming much more common in a wide range of settings including clubs, sports teams and the armed services.
If a hazing victim suffers serious injury or wrongful death, a hazing victim may have the right to bring a personal injury lawsuit or his or her family may have the right to bring a wrongful death lawsuit. The Georgia legislature has enacted new legislation to address the danger posed by hazing and to discourage this often dangerous conduct.
The proposed anti-hazing legislation, House Bill 659, was drafted by Rep. Joe Wilkinson, R-Sandy Springs, and makes any student convicted of hazing ineligible to attend school in Georgia. The legislation was initially introduced in April of last year prior to the death of Robert Champion from DeKalb County who was a band member at Florida A&M University. Champion was killed in a fatal hazing incident when he was beaten during a band trip in Orlando. The parents of Champion have speculated he may have been targeted because of his vocal opposition to hazing culture.
Georgia criminal law currently makes hazing a misdemeanor. The proposed legislation would prohibit anyone convicted of hazing from attending a Georgia school. The seriousness that the proposed legislation gives hazing is revealed by the fact the legislation does not allow someone convicted of hazing to enroll or attend school at the elementary or secondary level or at a university.
There is a broad spectrum of conduct that may constitute hazing and cause serious injury. Some common examples include the following:
- Forced Alcohol Consumption: Hazing that involves forcing a person to consume an excessive quantity of alcohol may result in alcohol poisoning and intoxication induced falls, which can cause paralysis or fatal accidents.
- Confinement in Small Spaces: Confinement in a grave or car trunk may result in suffocation resulting in brain damage or fatalities.
- Burns: A person may suffer third degree burns (full thickness burns) when hazed with cigarettes or branding.
- Falls from Elevations: Many hazing rituals involve forcing individuals to climb or negotiate elevations like roofs or bridges while intoxicated that can result in broken bones, spinal cord injuries, traumatic head injuries and wrongful death.
While some consider hazing to be mere “horseplay,” our Georgia hazing injury attorneys know that this type of conduct may cause permanent debilitating injuries and wrongful death. When a student is hazed, bullied or harassed on school premises or sometimes off campus in school-related activities, the school district may be liable for physical and psychological injuries depending on the specific circumstances of the incident. A Georgia personal injury lawsuit based on a hazing incident may involve complex issues of school immunity. Our Georgia school hazing attorneys understand the complexities of navigating immunity issues when seeking compensation for those injured by dangerous hazing accidents.
Our Georgia school hazing attorneys are available to assist clients throughout all of Georgia and the Southeast, including but not limited to Albany, Athens, Atlanta, Augusta, Columbus, Gainesville, Macon, Marietta, Rome, Roswell, Savannah, Smyrna, Valdosta, Warner Robins and all smaller cities and rural areas in the state. No matter where you are located our attorneys are just a phone call away, and we will even come to you. Call us 24 hours a day/7 days a week for your Free Consultation at 1-800-LAW-NEED (1-800-529-6333). You can also visit us online at www.montlick.com and use our Free Case Evaluation Form or 24-hour Live Online Chat.