Legal Blog

Schools Can Sometimes Be Held Legally Responsible For Hazing Injuries And Deaths

Attorney David I. Fuchs


Attorney David I. Fuchs


Dec. 1, 2011



The Miami Herald has reported that Florida A&M University has expelled four students after an alleged hazing incident that led to the death of a 26-year-old drum major.

The university’s action came after the university’s marching band was suspended and its director asked to resign over the death last month on a bus in Orlando. This action by the university is the first substantial anti-hazing disciplinary action after years of many hazing allegations.

The student died on Nov. 19, following a game between FAMU and Bethune-Cookman College. A 911 call, released Thursday, shows that fearful fellow band members tried to revive the student after he collapsed. Police say hazing was involved.

This death, which has drawn attention from around the country, is the latest in a series of hazing-related incidents involving FAMU’s marching band.

In 2001, a band trumpet player won a $1.8 million lawsuit against other band members, after suffering renal failure after being severely paddled.

This week, Florida’s Governor requested that all 11 state universities to review their anti-hazing policies and penalties. He has also requested that the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to investigate this student’s death. The Florida Board of Governors, which sets education policy at state universities, is conducting an investigation into the university’s institutional controls.

Hazing incidents and the injuries and deaths that sometimes tragically follow are on the rise around the nation. Angry parents want to hold their son or daughter’s university legally responsible.