Hazing Warning Signs

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How do you know if your child is in a group or club that has a tradition of hazing? We usually only hear about hazing incidents when someone is hurt or killed. But experts say it happens all the time. For example, a few weeks ago the videotaped hazing episode that turned violent in Illinois made news across the country. 5 high school girls were sent to the hospital and more than a dozen others were arrested.

Watching those Chicago area high school students throwing mud, feces and garbage on other students may make your stomach turn. Especially if you're a parent. Mickey DeHook is a national recognized, 30 year law enforcement veteran and trainer who teachers school officials about the signs of hazing. "It happens in elementary, high school, college, military gangs, you name it, it's happening," DeHook says. He considers hazing is any activity that promotes mental or physical abuse. It can start out harmless and quickly turn dangerous.

Hazing can include many activities such as screaming at another person, embarassing or degrading someone, pushing, shoving, fighting and even forcing someone to drink alcohol. DeHooke said "there's a misconception parents believe that it's nothing but harmless where in fact people get hurt and people die." If you suspect your child is being hazed, call school officials and the police. Hazing is against the law. If you would like more information about how to detect hazing you can call the "On The Line" program at 620-327-2222.

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