Deseret News editorial, June 15, 1998

Jordan hazing policy on target

Hazing in any form may be devastating to victims and has no place in public schools or elsewhere. Jordan School District recognizes that and wisely adopted a policy of strict prohibition. Others without similar guidelines in place should follow suit, as mandated by the Utah Board of Education.

Jordan's policy strictly forbids any act deemed hazing and requires staff to immediately report improprieties to administrators. Student perpetrators are suspended from school into the custody of a parent until punishment, restitution and reinstatement are determined. Employee initiators face sanctions that likely include firing.

It's hard to argue against any of those tough, clear-cut measures. There is no justification of the misguided "boys-will-be-boys" mind-set for either gender. Hazing is meaningless and sometimes dangerous. It serves no valid educational purpose and does not produce better or closer members of teams and clubs.

Jordan's policy establishes expectations that student leaders and athletes behave as role models for their peers responsibility that goes with the territory. Employees also are expected to demonstrate exemplary behavior.

It is an appropriate pre-emptive strike to prevent demoralizing incidents usually initiated as pranks that not only harm victims but create discord within schools and even entire communities.

Initiation rites or excessive teasing, particularly in this day and age, often evolve into something more serious. Since youngsters are often unable to control a situation once it gets out of hand, school districts, teachers and administrators must prevent inappropriate practices. Students must face tough consequences if they violate others' rights to feel safe from physical harm or harassment. Jordan School District has a policy that does that nicely.

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