Administration: Tips to Prevent Hazing

Administration: Tips to Prevent Hazing

Dick Moss, Editor, Physical Education Update

Hazing, or “initiation,” serves as a rite of passage for young people joining a group. However, many hazing rituals go to extremes and can include acts of verbal, physical and sexual abuse that are degrading and emotionally damaging to all those involved.

As a result, most schools and sports teams have banned hazing. But as school administrators, how do you establish an anti-hazing rules that stick? Here are some suggestions.

1. Have a policy with clear penalties for violations.

This policy must be explained to every student, perhaps during a short anti-hazing unit in physical education classes. If your school has a handbook that is given to each student, the policy should be included. The policy should also be explained to every sports team.

2. Establish Reporting Mechanisms

Let's face it, coaches, teachers and administrators can't supervise their students 24 hours a day. Most hazing incidents occur when supervisors aren't around. So it's important that students have the ability to report hazing problems without fear of reprisal from their school mates. You might develop a system of anonymous reporting to your guidance counsellors, or follow the lead of some school districts and use anonymous reporting websites like

3. Develop Adult-Supervised Initiations

These “rites of passage” can be team-building activities like ropes courses, adventure camping or any positive activity that will bring your students closer together. While these activities can be challenging, the key is that they are positive in nature and are supervised by adults.


1. Grant Wahl and L. Jon Wertheim, “A rite gone terribly wrong.” Sports Illustrated, December 22, 2003. [For subscription inquiries, see].

2. StopHazing.Org Website:

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