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Politics & Government

Midstate Republican Floats Bill To Penalize Hazing

Following a southeastern high school that curtailed its season after allegations of hazing, a midstate lawmaker is seeking to criminalize such rituals.

Pennsylvania is one of 44 states with anti-hazing laws, but the commonwealth’s statute applies only to institutions of higher education. Rep. Ron Marsico (R-Dauphin) said hazing penalties should apply to schools and clubs, as well.

“They should be penalized,” Marsico said. “I mean, they’re old enough to know. If they’re over 13 years of age, they should know better.”

Marsico’s comments come days after a Bucks County high school canceled the rest of its football season over allegations of hazing.

In New Jersey, seven high school students face hazing charges over incidents involving rookie team members.

“We saw those stories, as well as some incidents around the country,” Marsico said. “So we thought that we’d get this out actually in preparation for next session, early next session.” He did not rule out the possibility of pushing the bill during a lame duck session scheduled in November after the election.   

“If there’s an opportunity to go ahead and advance this, we’ll do it this session,” Marsico said.

The Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association has noted its concern about hazing and encourages students, parents, and school staff to report it to school officials.