Hazing is defined as any activity regarding someone joining a group that humiliates, degrades or risks emotional or physical harm, regardless of the person’s willingness to participate.

Hazing is most popular in college when a student is attempting to join an athletic team, fraternity, or sorority. It is typically when one or more upperclassmen mentally and physically abuse incoming freshmen as “initiation”. Examples of this can include sleep deprivation, harassment, wearing humiliating clothes or tests on trivial information having to do with the group. No matter how much faculty, coaches, and even the police try to prevent it, hazing can not be stopped.

Over the years, the physical brutality of hazing has increased. In 2011, thirteen students at Florida A&M attacked drum major Robert Champion. Eleven of those students have been charged with hazing resulting in death, which is a 6 six year sentence. Governor Rick Scott ordered all Florida state universities to examine their hazing policies more thoroughly. Central Florida is no stranger to hazing in schools.

In September 2010, Darion Dennis, a football player at Dr. Phillips High School was sent to the hospital. He was allegedly beat up by the varsity players for entering the varsity locker room as a freshman. Dr. Phillips coach, Dale Salapa, formerly employed by Trinity Prep, said the boys “got out of hand” and “carried away.” Dennis’s mother was furious. She said to the Orlando Sentinel, “No longer should I, as an African-American or my son, not be granted access through the front door.”After this incident, Salapa resigned from his coaching position. He was the head coach for three years, finishing his career with a sterling record of 35-4.

Hazing has been all over America but thankfully, it has steered from my school’s athletic teams. Instead, many of my school’s athletic teams have activities for the team to bond, rather than harass each other. Before each meet, the boys swimming team gathers in a huddle. “We get in a circle outside on the pool deck and start yelling as loud as we can. We end with a phrase that only the guys team should know,” said Jon Trevisani.

The tactic obviously worked this year, as the boys finished second in the district. Other teams that bond include the girls swimming team and the football team. The girls jam out to music before their meet in the locker room. The football team goes to Denny’s before every game on Friday morning as a team. The volleyball team has an annual dinner at one of the player’s houses. They eat, play games, and bond as a team as well as friends. The team bonding does not stop there. In the winter, the boys basketball team is led by TJ Amalbert in a pre-game rap. The girls soccer team has an Italian themed team lunch prior to games. Being on an athletic team is one of the most rewarding parts of school, whether at the high school or collegiate level. The experience can be tainted by the actions of students that feel the need to “initiate” other athletes.

Politicians, coaches, and administration will all try to stop this, but it will not be up to them. The athletes themselves must choose to stop these horrible actions.

Originally Published in The Trinity Voice

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