By Sophie Harris
SH: More and more kids are being bulÂlied at North. Could these behavÂiors transÂlate into more danÂgerÂous things along the road, like hazing?
HN: The idea of high school behavÂiors being repliÂcated in colÂlege worÂries me. In high school, actions are not always punÂished and adminÂisÂtraÂtors try and take things into their own hands. In one of my books, â€œThe HazÂing Reader,â€ a vicÂtim of a hazÂing crime who almost died came from BloomÂingÂton North. He was at the UniÂverÂsity of North Carolina.
SH: How many books have you writÂten? What are theyÂ about?
HN: Â Iâ€™ve writÂten 25 books, and four are about hazÂing. I have a fifth book comÂing out in a few months. I started writÂing about hazÂing for the Human BehavÂior magÂaÂzine, a national magÂaÂzine studyÂing behavÂior and psyÂcholÂogy. When writÂing about it, I wonÂdered why the bystanders just walked by. I did interÂviews with lots of experts, and it seemed that hazÂers never did their hazÂing ritÂuÂals one-on-one. Now itâ€™s a litÂtle difÂferÂent, with cyberÂbulÂlyÂing. CyberÂbulÂlyÂing is techÂniÂcally one-on-one, through phones and faceÂbook, but itâ€™s got the group menÂtalÂity of hazÂing because peoÂple share it with their friends.
SH: Why is it so imporÂtant that we put a stop to bulÂlyÂing, both in high school and college?
HN: Â Hazingâ€™s main danÂger is alcoÂhol. 82% of hazing-related deaths are caused by alcoÂhol. CyberÂbulÂlyÂing can be very danÂgerÂous because its main goal is to exclude. PredaÂtors want to find your weakÂness, your inseÂcuÂrity, and harp on your oriÂenÂtaÂtion or â€˜lack of coolÂness,â€™ and hamÂmer that home. There was a hazÂing case where the hazÂers wanted a pledge to drink from a botÂtle and put a gun to his head. But what they didnâ€™t know what that this boyâ€™s father killed himÂself thatÂ way.
SH: How can bulÂlyÂing in high school lead to hazÂing in college?
HN: Â BulÂlyÂing in high school makes a perÂson jaded. BulÂlyÂing is hazÂing. If theyâ€™ve gotÂten away with bulÂlyÂing in high school, it makes them think they can get away with it in colÂlege. It gets out of hand. At the high school level, hazÂing is worse than ever. HazÂing began in about the 1980â€™s. At the colÂlege level there is much more awareÂness, and colÂleges are crackÂing down on it. For the first time since 1970, in 2010 there were no hazÂing related deaths in America.
SH: What is the best advice you could give to someÂone being bulÂlied orÂ hazed?
HN: Â Find peoÂple that object to it, just as you do. Band together with them. Find an adminÂisÂtraÂtor that will lisÂten, and inform your parÂents, no matÂter how embarÂrassÂing the sitÂuÂaÂtion is. Speak out! Take notes by the hour. By the minute. Donâ€™t exagÂgerÂate, donâ€™t make anyÂthing up, and donâ€™t break the law yourÂself. Some peoÂple fell that they canâ€™t step in on hazÂing if itâ€™s not in their group. Thatâ€™s not true. You can. Things can get so out of conÂtrol. Adults can act in a stuÂpid way, and they can be really bad examÂples for high school stuÂdents. SomeÂtimes, in high school, prinÂciÂpals and adminÂisÂtraÂtors are really bad at tryÂing to conÂtainÂ it.
SH: How can you see bulÂlyÂing and hazÂing stopÂping, or at least lessening?
HN: Â It must be taught in a no-nonsense way from kinderÂgarten, or even earÂlier, on. ParÂents must get involved. Adults need to act like adults. Itâ€™s some kind of sociÂetal probÂlem when adults donâ€™t take responÂsiÂbilÂity and obey the law. There was once a case at an IndiÂana high school near ShelÂbyville. There was a sitÂuÂaÂtion, but the school adminÂisÂtraÂtors never let it go to the police. The police never folÂlowed up on the facts. If the facts are corÂrect, kids could end up with felonies on their records. When nothÂing hapÂpens, it is unconÂscionable. School adminÂisÂtraÂtors are not the police. They should not act like police. They need to call the police, and if nothÂing hapÂpens then, parÂents should band together and demand justice.
SH: Is it hard to write about hazing?
HN: Â Yes, itâ€™s still not easy, talkÂing about the loss of a human life. I canâ€™t tell you how many girlÂfriends and parÂents Iâ€™ve talked to after deaths. I canâ€™t tell you how many 911 tapes Iâ€™ve heard. For most hazÂers, a death is either a wake up call, or they whine and blame it on the victim.