Hazing by students in clubs, sports teams or other contexts in schools is no more than bullying by another name. Local school officials should not tolerate it, even if it has been a tradition.
Bellaire school Superintendent Tony Scott has been contacted by a few parents about a hazing incident last August, he confirmed this week. Though Scott did not provide details of the situation, he told a reporter he had met with coaches who work with athletes in Bellaire schools.
Scott said he discussed school district policy and procedures - which ban hazing - with coaches.
It is not unusual for students in organized activities such as athletics, band or clubs to have longstanding rituals, often used to initiate new members. Most of the time they're harmless and all in fun.
But sometimes they cross the line into mental and/or physical harassment. Sometimes it results in injury. On rare occasions, hazing ends in death.
All too often, hazing is tolerated, even encouraged by older students and even adults who should know better. The idea seems to be that for years or even decades, everyone involved in a particular activity had to endure it - so why shouldn't newcomers?
Because it is wrong and sometimes dangerous, that's why.
Students caught hazing others should be punished with the same penalties schools use to handle bullies. Adults who look the other way should be penalized, too.
"We're certainly not going to sweep these sorts of things under the rug," Scott pledged this week. He's right about that. Parents, whether their children are victims of hazing or not, should not tolerate it.