Target: Montana Senator Bruce Tutvedt
Goal: Ban hazing activities in the state of Montana.
Just this past February in Billings, MT, a high school junior was held down by his basketball teammates and shocked on his bare neck with a dog collar. Last September, four 15-year-old boys were sexually and violently assaulted by football teammates on a school bus in Kalispell, MT, and last November, two more high school football players met a similar fate in a locker room in Great Falls, MT. Hazing is a very real and very serious problem in Montana, and yet it is one of only six states in the U.S. with no anti-hazing laws. Most states consider hazing a misdemeanor and charge up to $5,000 in fines. But apparently in Alaska, Montana, South Dakota, Hawaii, New Mexico, and Wyoming, tradition and rites of passage take precedence over the safety of our children.
Characterized as humiliating, degrading, and/or dangerous activity required froma new member of a group, hazing is thought to be experienced by more than half of U.S. students who have held a group membership of any sort. The consequences of these shockingly common activities range from emotional damage, to petty crime, to physical harm and even death. With the dangers clearly demonstrated, why are there still states in our country where hazing is legal? Considering events of the past school year, how can the state of Montana justify its total inaction toward protecting our young population?
By signing this petition, you will urge Montana Senator Bruce Tutvedt to draft a bill for the criminalization of hazing in the state of Montana.
Dear Senator Tutvedt,
Incidents of hazing are rampant and serious in Montana’s high schools, with at least three serious cases in the last year alone. Despite the trauma experienced recently in Billings, Great Falls, and your own city of Kalispell, Montana is one of only six states in the county that have failed to establish anti-hazing laws.
Just this past September, four young boys in your own town were victims of sexually violent hazing by teammates. Please help to protect your local youth from violence by drafting a bill that will turn hazing into a criminal offense in the state of Montana.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: naraosga via everystockphoto