Massachusetts Hazing Laws

From college fraternities and sororities to high school sports teams and social clubs, hazing is a traditional part of being accepted as a member of a group. However, this type of practice has often resulted in humiliation, serious injuries, and even death.

Hazing is defined as any action or situation that intentionally or recklessly endangers the physical and mental health of a student in order to admit or initiation him/her into a student club or organization. The elements to hazing include association with a public or private institution, offensive actions that threaten the life and/or safety of a student, and intention of individuals who host the event.

The following are common examples of hazing, ranging from mild to extreme:

  • Name-calling
  • Forced duty and labor
  • Assigning demerits
  • Verbal abuse
  • Threats
  • Harassment
  • Sleep deprivation
  • Weather exposure
  • Forced or coerced alcohol or drug consumption
  • Forced or coerced ingestion of vile or poisonous food
  • Forced or coerced binge eating
  • Beating, kicking and paddling
  • Kidnapping
  • Branding and labeling
  • Public nudity
  • Any type of physical violence

When it comes to Massachusetts law, individuals who are involved in the hazing incident can be charged with a misdemeanor, which is punishable by a maximum one-year jail term and/or a fine no more than $3,000. However, if the hazing action results in injury or death, those involved could face assault and manslaughter charges.

Additionally, accused students could face suspension or expulsion from their school. Having a permanent criminal record follow them for the rest of their lives can make it difficult to further their education, obtain employment, or otherwise live a normal life.

If you or a loved one has been charged with hazing or another crime in Boston, contact Brad Bailey Law today at (617) 500-0252 and request a confidential consultation to learn about all your legal options.


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