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Does Arizona have a hazing law that covers the camper case? Glad you asked.

First read this easy-to-read description and then scroll down THIS page for much more

Judge for yourself: This watered down law was passed after a much tougher bill was defeated. The weakened bill (HB 2476) passed after the Arizona senate knocked down a tougher bill. And yes, Ken Bennett was a senator back in 2001. (I’m not trying to dump on the dad. He and the parents of victims must have heavy hearts these long days.)

Now, note how the law seems to apply mainly, perhaps only, to educational institutions. Hazing laws are tough to write, harder to pass–filled as they are with compromises and wordings that may violate U.S. free speech values. Too many state laws provide easy outs for workplaces, Masons, military service academies, and yeah, probably even camps. Want to read a tougher law? Try Florida’s new statute and compare cases like this with Arizona’s soft law below:

Some of the hazing laws in the U.S. go back to a very different type of hazing done in the 19th and early 20th centuries. Here’s the Rhode Island bill from 1909:

BILL ENDS HAZING IN RHODE ISLAND
Christian Science Monitor (1908-Current file). Boston, Mass.: May 1, 1909. pg. 1, 1 pgs

Document types: front_page
Dateline: PROVIDENCE, R.I.
Text Word Count 79
Document URL:
Abstract (Document Summary)
PROVIDENCE, R.I.–An act aimed at hazing in educational institutions has been favorably reported to the House by the committee on judiciary. It provides a penalty of not less than $10 nor more than $100, or imprisonment not less than 30 days nor more than 10 years for the violation of its provisions.

And now, will the Arizona hazing bill please bow and take a stand?
State of Arizona
House of Representatives
Forty-fifth Legislature
First Regular Session
2001
————————–
HOUSE BILL 2476
————————–

AN ACT

AMENDING TITLE 15, ARIZONA REVISED STATUTES, BY ADDING CHAPTER 18; RELATING TO HAZING PREVENTION POLICIES.

(TEXT OF BILL BEGINS ON NEXT PAGE)

Be it enacted by the Legislature of the State of Arizona:

Section 1. Title 15, Arizona Revised Statutes, is amended by adding chapter 18, to read:

CHAPTER 18

HAZING PREVENTION POLICIES

ARTICLE 1. GENERAL PROVISIONS

15-2301. Hazing prevention policies; definitions

A. EVERY PUBLIC EDUCATIONAL INSTITUTION IN THIS STATE SHALL ADOPT, POST AND ENFORCE A HAZING PREVENTION POLICY. EACH HAZING PREVENTION POLICY SHALL INCLUDE:

1. A STATEMENT THAT HAZING IS PROHIBITED.

2. A STATEMENT THAT ANY SOLICITATION TO ENGAGE IN HAZING IS PROHIBITED.

3. A STATEMENT THAT AIDING AND ABETTING ANOTHER PERSON WHO IS ENGAGED IN HAZING IS PROHIBITED.

4. A STATEMENT THAT IT IS NOT A DEFENSE TO A VIOLATION OF THE HAZING PREVENTION POLICY IF THE HAZING VICTIM CONSENTED TO OR ACQUIESCED IN THE HAZING ACTIVITY.

5. A STATEMENT THAT ALL STUDENTS, TEACHERS AND STAFF SHALL TAKE REASONABLE MEASURES WITHIN THE SCOPE OF THEIR INDIVIDUAL AUTHORITY TO PREVENT VIOLATIONS OF THE HAZING PREVENTION POLICY.

6. A DESCRIPTION OF THE PROCEDURES FOR STUDENTS, TEACHERS AND STAFF TO REPORT VIOLATIONS OF THE HAZING PREVENTION POLICY AND THE PROCEDURES TO FILE A COMPLAINT FOR A VIOLATION OF THE HAZING PREVENTION POLICY.

7. PROCEDURES TO INVESTIGATE REPORTS OF VIOLATIONS OF THE HAZING PREVENTION POLICY AND TO INVESTIGATE COMPLAINTS FOR A VIOLATION OF THE HAZING PREVENTION POLICY.

8. A DESCRIPTION OF THE CIRCUMSTANCES UNDER WHICH A VIOLATION OF THE HAZING PREVENTION POLICY SHALL BE REPORTED TO THE APPROPRIATE LAW ENFORCEMENT AGENCY.

9. A DESCRIPTION OF APPROPRIATE PENALTIES, SANCTIONS AND APPEALS MECHANISMS FOR PERSONS AND ORGANIZATIONS THAT VIOLATE THE HAZING PREVENTION POLICY. THE SANCTIONS SHALL INCLUDE THE REVOCATION OR SUSPENSION OF AN ORGANIZATION’S PERMISSION TO CONDUCT OPERATIONS AT THE EDUCATIONAL INSTITUTION IF THE ORGANIZATION KNOWINGLY PERMITTED, AUTHORIZED OR CONDONED THE HAZING ACTIVITY OR ANY TEACHER OR STAFF THAT KNOWINGLY PERMITTED, AUTHORIZED OR CONDONED THE HAZING ACTIVITY SHALL BE SUBJECT TO DISCIPLINARY ACTION BY THE EDUCATIONAL INSTITUTION.

B. VIOLATIONS OF HAZING PREVENTION POLICIES ADOPTED PURSUANT TO THIS SECTION DO NOT INCLUDE EITHER OF THE FOLLOWING:

1. CUSTOMARY ATHLETIC EVENTS, CONTESTS OR COMPETITIONS THAT ARE SPONSORED BY AN EDUCATIONAL INSTITUTION.

2. ANY ACTIVITY OR CONDUCT THAT FURTHERS THE GOALS OF A LEGITIMATE EDUCATIONAL CURRICULUM, A LEGITIMATE EXTRACURRICULAR PROGRAM OR A LEGITIMATE MILITARY TRAINING PROGRAM.

C. FOR PURPOSES OF THIS SECTION:

1. “EDUCATIONAL INSTITUTION” MEANS ANY OF THE FOLLOWING:

(a) A PUBLIC SCHOOL THAT PROVIDES INSTRUCTION TO PUPILS IN ANY COMBINATION OF KINDERGARTEN PROGRAMS AND GRADES ONE THROUGH TWELVE.

(b) A PUBLIC COMMUNITY COLLEGE OR A VOCATIONAL EDUCATION PROGRAM THAT PROVIDES ACADEMIC INSTRUCTION OR TRAINING NOT EXCEEDING TWO YEARS’ DURATION IN THE ARTS, SCIENCES AND HUMANITIES BEYOND THE TWELFTH GRADE OF THE PUBLIC OR PRIVATE HIGH SCHOOL COURSE OF STUDY.

(c) ANY PUBLIC COLLEGE OR UNIVERSITY THAT PROVIDES ACADEMIC INSTRUCTION BEYOND THE TWELFTH GRADE OF THE PUBLIC OR PRIVATE HIGH SCHOOL COURSE OF STUDY AND THAT OFFERS ANY COMBINATION OF BACCALAUREATE, MASTER’S OR DOCTORAL DEGREES TO STUDENTS THAT COMPLETE SPECIFIED ACADEMIC REQUIREMENTS.

2. “HAZING” MEANS ANY INTENTIONAL, KNOWING OR RECKLESS ACT COMMITTED BY A STUDENT, WHETHER INDIVIDUALLY OR IN CONCERT WITH OTHER PERSONS, AGAINST ANOTHER STUDENT, AND IN WHICH BOTH OF THE FOLLOWING APPLY:

(a) THE ACT WAS COMMITTED IN CONNECTION WITH AN INITIATION INTO, AN AFFILIATION WITH OR THE MAINTENANCE OF MEMBERSHIP IN ANY ORGANIZATION THAT IS AFFILIATED WITH AN EDUCATIONAL INSTITUTION.

(b) THE ACT CONTRIBUTES TO A SUBSTANTIAL RISK OF POTENTIAL PHYSICAL INJURY, MENTAL HARM OR DEGRADATION OR CAUSES PHYSICAL INJURY, MENTAL HARM OR PERSONAL DEGRADATION.

3. “ORGANIZATION” MEANS AN ATHLETIC TEAM, ASSOCIATION, ORDER, SOCIETY, CORPS, COOPERATIVE, CLUB OR OTHER SIMILAR GROUP THAT IS AFFILIATED WITH AN EDUCATIONAL INSTITUTION AND WHOSE MEMBERSHIP CONSISTS PRIMARILY OF STUDENTS ENROLLED AT THAT EDUCATIONAL INSTITUTION.

4. “STUDENT” MEANS ANY PERSON WHO IS ENROLLED AT AN EDUCATIONAL INSTITUTION, ANY PERSON WHO HAS BEEN PROMOTED OR ACCEPTED FOR ENROLLMENT AT AN EDUCATIONAL INSTITUTION OR ANY PERSON WHO INTENDS TO ENROLL AT OR BE PROMOTED TO AN EDUCATIONAL INSTITUTION WITHIN THE NEXT TWELVE CALENDAR MONTHS. THE HAZING PREVENTION POLICY OF THE EDUCATIONAL INSTITUTION WHERE A PERSON HAS BEEN ACCEPTED FOR OR PROMOTED TO ENROLLMENT, OR WHERE A PERSON INTENDS TO ENROLL OR BE PROMOTED TO WITHIN THE NEXT TWELVE CALENDAR MONTHS, SHALL BE THE EFFECTIVE POLICY. A PERSON WHO MEETS THE DEFINITION OF A STUDENT FOR PURPOSES OF THIS PARAGRAPH SHALL CONTINUE TO BE DEFINED AS A STUDENT FOR PURPOSES OF THIS SECTION UNTIL THE PERSON GRADUATES, TRANSFERS, IS PROMOTED OR WITHDRAWS FROM THE EDUCATIONAL INSTITUTION.

Sec. 2. Intent

It is the intent of the legislature and the policy of this state that all educational institutions in this state provide students with safe, orderly, civil and positive learning environments. The legislature believes that no student in this state shall feel threatened while enrolled in a school in this state. The legislature hereby declares that hazing activities are not permissible and will not be tolerated in the schools of this state.

By Hank Nuwer

Hank Nuwer is the Indiana-based author of Broken Pledges: The Deadly Rite of Hazing, High School Hazing, Wrongs of Passage and The Hazing Reader. He has written articles or columns on hazing for the Sunday Times of India, Toronto Globe & Mail, Harper's Magazine, Orlando Sentinel, The Chronicle of Higher Education and the New York Times Sunday Magazine. His new book is Hazing: Destroying Young Lives from Indiana University Press.

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