5131.91 - Hazing Purpose and Philosophy

Policy 5131.91 

Students

Hazing

Purpose and Philosophy

Hazing and initiation activities that involve hazing are abusive and illegal behaviors that harm victims and negatively impact the school environment by creating an atmosphere of fear, distrust and mean-spiritedness.  Because the District is committed to providing a safe and inclusive environment for all students that promotes respect, civility, and dignity, it is the purpose of this policy to establish and preserve an educational environment free from any type of hazing or initiation activities that involve hazing.

Policy

The District strictly prohibits any person from engaging individually or collectively in any form of hazing or related initiation activity on school property, in conjunction with any school activity, or involving any person associated with the school, regardless of where it occurs.  Consistent with the District’s Conduct and Sexual Harassment policies, any person who participates in hazing or related initiation activity, or conspires to engage in hazing, will face immediate disciplinary action up to and including suspension, expulsion, exclusion, and loss of participation in extracurricular activities.  In addition, persons who participate in hazing will be referred to law enforcement authorities and may face subsequent prosecution.

General Statement of Policy
  1. No student, teacher, administrator, volunteer, contractor or other employee or agent of the school district (here and after collectively referred to as “staff”) shall plan, direct, encourage, aid, or engage in hazing.
  2. No staff member of the school district shall permit, condone, or tolerate hazing.
  3. Implied or expressed consent by a person being hazed does not lessen the prohibitions contained in this policy, and will not be considered as a defense or mitigation of any alleged violation of this policy.
  4. A person who engages in an act that violates school policy or law in order to initiate another person or to be initiated into or affiliated with a student organization shall be subject to discipline for that act.
  5. The school district will investigate complaints of hazing and take appropriate action including, but not limited to, discipline against any student or staff member of the district who is found to have violated this policy.
  6. Hazing activities are seriously disruptive of the education process. This policy applies to behavior that occurs on or off school property and during, before or after school hours.”
Definitions

“Hazing” means any action which recklessly or intentionally endangers the health or safety of a person for the purpose of initiation, admission into or affiliation with, or as a condition for continued membership in a student organization. Hazing includes, but is not limited to:
  • Requiring indecent exposure of the body;
  • Requiring any activity that would subject the person to extreme mental stress, such as sleep deprivation or extended isolation from social contact;
  • Confinement of the person to unreasonably small, unventilated, unsanitary or unlighted areas;
  • Any assault upon the person; or
  • Requiring the ingestion of any substance or any other physical activity which would adversely affect the health or safety of the individual.
Consent is no defense to hazing: i.e., the implied or expressed consent of a person or persons to hazing shall not be a defense to discipline under this policy.

“Related initiation activity” means any method of initiation, pre-initiation, or other activity required as a condition of initial or continued membership in a school club, team or organization, that causes or is reasonably likely to cause bodily danger or physical harm, severe mental or emotional harm, extreme embarrassment or ridicule, or personal degradation or loss of dignity to any student or other person associated with the school.

The term “hazing” and “related initiation activity” do not include customary, school-sponsored athletic events, intramural activities, or other similar school-sponsored student contests and competitions.

“Conspire to engage in hazing” means to plan, encourage, fail to take reasonable steps to prevent, or fail to report hazing and related initiation activities by this policy.

Prohibited Conduct
Activities that may be construed as hazing under this policy include, but are not limited to, the following:
  • Any act the involves physical brutality or physical aggression that causes or is reasonably likely to cause, bodily danger or physical harm to an individual.
  • Any act that involves forced consumption of food, alcohol, drugs, or other substance, or any other forced physical activity that could severely affect the physical health or safety of an individual.
  • Any act that would subject an individual to extreme mental stress or emotional harm, or any other forced activity that could severely affect the mental health or dignity of the individual.
Reporting Requirement

School personnel who become aware of hazing or related initiation activity shall report such incident immediately to your immediate supervisor and/or the Principal so that the incident can be promptly investigated and so that appropriate action can be taken.

School employees who fail to report it to the Principal or Superintendent will be subject to appropriate disciplinary action.

Policy Dissemination

A summary of this policy shall be posted in a prominent place in each District school.  The policy shall also be published in student registration materials; student, parent, and employee handbooks; and other appropriate school publications as directed by the Superintendent.

Each District Principal, athletic coach, and other extracurricular supervisor shall inform his/her students about this policy on a regular basis.  At a minimum, such communication shall take place at the beginning of each school year or prior to the beginning of each team or group’s activities for the year. 


Policy adopted: May 7, 2019                                          
NEWTOWN PUBLIC SCHOOLS, 
Newtown, Connecticut
 
Inspiring Each Student to Excel

3 Primrose St., Newtown, CT 06470
Phone: 203-426-7600
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