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Prevention Presents: Bullying vs Hazing

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  ashley-rodebaugh
Bullying vs Hazing: 
Is there a difference?
Ashley Rodebaugh, M.A., LSC
Prevention Educator

What is bullying?  We’ve all heard about it; some of us have probably even experienced it first hand or have witnessed someone else being bullied. www.StopBullying.gov defines bullying as, “unwanted, aggressive behavior among school aged children that involves a real or perceived power imbalance. The behavior is repeated, or has the potential to be repeated over time.”   It is not, however, just a school-aged problem. It continues throughout life, sometimes taking on a new name—hazing. www.HazingPrevention.org defines hazing as, “an action taken or any situation created intentionally that causes embarrassment, harassment or ridicule and risks emotional or physical harm to members of a group or team, whether new or not, regardless of the person’s willingness to participate.” The main difference between bullying and hazing is that, often times those being hazed are willingly participating, whereas those who are bullied are NEVER willing participants.

Most people recognize bullying when they see it, but how do you know if a group or team’s initiation rituals have crossed the line from fun and games to hazing? Hazing can cause emotional or physical discomfort or injury for those being hazed. Similarly, those that are hazed feel embarrassment, ridicule, degradation, and/or humiliation during and/or after the hazing incident.  Hazing may also result in committing illegal acts and possible criminal charges. Regardless of whether the person is a willful participant in the hazing incident, these indicators are signs that these rituals are, indeed, hazing.

Some people may perceive bullying or hazing as something that will never change, and take a ‘kids will be kids’ attitude. Others perceive it as a rite of passage, thinking that everyone gets bullied or hazed at some point in their lives. Whether true or not, should it be something we just ignore? Is it okay to tell the 5th grader who is bullied daily by his or her peers that “it gets better,” or “you’re strong, you will be okay.” Is it okay to let team or group members risk physical or emotional harm just because they want to “be part of the team?” The answer to both of these questions is: Absolutely not!

According to www.stopHazing.org, “47% of students are hazed BEFORE they enter college, and 3 in 5 college students are hazed.”  Furthermore, every year young people are completing suicide because they were bullied, fraternity chapters are disbanded on college campuses due to horrible hazing accidents, and many other lives are endangered or lost due to bullying or hazing. Valuable resources for parents, students, and educators are available on www.TheBullyProject.com to help understand how to prevent and stop bullying. Many of these tips can also be applied to hazing. 

If you would like more information about how to prevent bullying and hazing in your community or to organize a presentation for your group, please contact Harbor’s Prevention Team at 419.475.4449.

 

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 donna-bacon

Stand Up to Bullying
Donna Bacon, M.Ed., LSC
Prevention Educator

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