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Hazing

Texas Hazing Law (Education Code)

Education Code § 51.936 requirement to publish a summary of Education Code Chapter 37, subchapter F. Hazing 

The following is a summary of Chapter 37, subchapter F. (§§ 37.151-157) of the Texas Education Code, which prohibits hazing in Texas public or private high schools. Texas Education Code §51.936 applies Chapter 37’s prohibition on hazing to institutions of higher education. This summary of Chapter 37 is provided as required by § 51.936(d).

Summary

Hazing is a criminal violation under Texas law. A person may be found guilty of criminal conduct for hazing, encouraging hazing, permitting hazing, or having knowledge of the planning of hazing incidents and failure to report in writing his/her knowledge to the Dean of Students or Director of Student Life.

A person commits an offense if the person:

(1)  engages in hazing;

(2)  solicits, encourages, directs, aids, or attempts to aid another in engaging in hazing;

(3)  recklessly permits hazing to occur; or

(4)  has firsthand knowledge of the planning of a specific hazing incident involving a student in an educational institution, or has firsthand knowledge that a specific hazing incident has occurred, and knowingly fails to report that knowledge in writing to the dean of students or another appropriate official of the institution.

Both failing to report hazing and hazing that does not result in serious bodily injury are Class B misdemeanors. Hazing that results in serious bodily injury is a Class A misdemeanor. Hazing resulting in a death is a state jail felony. An organization found guilty of hazing may be fined $5,000 to $10,000 or, for incidents causing personal injury or property damage, an amount double the loss or expenses incurred because of the hazing incident. It is not a defense to prosecution that the person hazed consented to the hazing activity.

Any person reporting a specific hazing incident to the Dean of Students or other appropriate institutional official is immune from civil and criminal liability unless the report is in bad faith or malicious.

The state law does not limit or affect an educational institution’s right to enforce its own penalties against hazing.

The Education Code defines hazing as “any intentional, knowing, or reckless act occurring on or off the campus of an educational institution, by one person or acting with others, directed against a student for the purpose of pledging, being initiated into, affiliating with, holding office in, or maintaining membership in an organization.” The statute contains a list of conduct that constitutes hazing if the act:

 (A)  is any type of physical brutality, such as whipping, beating, striking, branding, electronic shocking, placing of a harmful substance on the body, or similar activity;

(B)  involves sleep deprivation, exposure to the elements, confinement in a small space, calisthenics, or other similar activity that subjects the student to an unreasonable risk of harm or that adversely affects the mental or physical health or safety of the student;

(C)  involves consumption of a food, liquid, alcoholic beverage, liquor, drug, or other substance, other than as described by Paragraph (E), that subjects the student to an unreasonable risk of harm or that adversely affects the mental or physical health or safety of the student;

(D)  is any activity that induces, causes, or requires the student to perform a duty or task that involves a violation of the Penal Code; or

(E)  involves coercing, as defined by Section 1.07, Penal Code, the student to consume:

(i)  a drug; or

(ii)  an alcoholic beverage or liquor in an amount that would lead a reasonable person to believe that the student is intoxicated, as defined by Section 49.01, Penal Code.

In order to report suspected incidents of hazing, contact the Office of the Dean of Students or the police department at your respective campus.