Most students felt that adults needed to intervene to stop it. Students rated strong, disciplinary measures for known hazing incidents (61%) and police investigation and prosecution of hazing cases (50%) as the best prevention strategies. In addition, students felt that positive bonding (43%), educational activities (37%), and challenging activities (30%) would help to prevent hazing.
How Would Students Prevent Hazing?
Asked for "other" prevention strategies, students responded (n=139):
- Only drastic changes in culture can prevent it. Over a quarter referred to hazing as an integral part of tradition and culture and therefore extremely difficult to prevent. Students said it would take a "breakdown of tradition" to stop it. One student said there is "no way (to prevent hazing) without drastically changing our culture." (27%).
- Commitment to civility, community, and equality: School officials must say it's not acceptable and stress equality, self-respect, and respect for others. There need to be good role models, parenting, and early learning, with support and rewards for good behavior and those students who speak out against hazing. Students need to improve their self-esteem, grow up, learn to be mature, talk about it with other students, and put peer pressure out against it. Several students made statements such as: "The people who do it have to want to stop. Otherwise it will continue." "Only those involved can change these things." And "Make kids understand that they do have a choice, that it's okay to refuse to go along with it." (25%).
- Increased awareness: Students suggested more information on hazing, including the harm it can cause, be provided through classes. They also mentioned making students aware of previous hazing accidents, "something similar to the mock car crashes they do for drunk driving." As one student put it, "Tell the gory stories - they hit the heart harder!!" Many of these students said parent need to be informed about all initiations, as well as school policy on hazing issues. Parents should be asked to help prevent it. One student noted that written, signed agreements don't help. "They have to be real." A few students noted the dangers of publicizing incidents, suggesting, "the less people that know, the less will think it's cool," and "Don't make a big deal about it over TV." (10%).
- Intentionally designed activities: Students suggested mentally challenging activities; more programs for teens; things to do around town; positive extracurricular activities; and spiritual or church involvement (10%).
- Strict rules with enforcement: Students recommended expulsion, jail time, or generally "harsh punishment." Others suggested making illegal; terminating the group if it is caught hazing; adopting a zero- tolerance policy; removing students from a group if they are hazing others; implementing alcohol/drug testing for some groups; rewarding students for "turning in" those who haze; implementing strict rules to belong to a club or social group; having schools adopt a safe-school act; increasing adult supervision; and "making people look stupid for hazing." (10%).
- Don't prevent it: These students thought it is the student's choice: "I don't think it's wrong as long as the person is willing and it's out of good intentions." Students suggested making hazing an option and supervising it. Others said, "There's nothing wrong with it; it's fun." One student said, "It was done to us, now it's their turn." (8%).
- One student said, "Less encouragement for sexual hazing."