Push For Hazing Legislation

By Ben Manning | bmanning@wtajtv.com

Published 08/25 2014 10:20PM

Updated 08/26 2014 06:35PM

ALTOONA, BLAIR COUNTY - Recent hazing incidents have some calling for stricter laws.

Hazing has been in the news for two different incidents this week. Hollidaysburg Borough Police say a handful of players on the Hollidaysburg High School Football team are being investigated for an alleged hazing incident last Friday at the school. No charges have been filed in the case. Police say they are in the early stages of their investigation.

In another case, the family of the teenager is asking the State Attorney General's office to take over the investigation. Marquise Braham killed himself by jumping off of the Long Island Marriott Hotel while home for spring break last semester. The Braham family is asking the governor to change the state's hazing law from a misdemeanor to a felony charge. And they want him to fast track it.

Representative John McGinnis thinks there should be felony charges for serious incidents in hazing. He says when hazing became a misdemeanor the number of incidents went down, so he thinks increasing the penalties would have a similar effect.

People that talked to WTAJ don't think it should be an all or nothing law. They wanted each case viewed independently and if someone was seriously hurt then it should be a felony. Some people said that should also include psychological harm and ruining someone’s reputation.

Representative McGinnis doesn't think any criminal legislation should ever be fast-tracked. If lawmakers want to speed a bill through it can be done in six days and McGinnis says that's not enough time to get a law right.

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