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Guest column/Working to protect Ohio’s students from hazing

In March, another Ohio family is grieving. Stone Foltz, a 20-year-old sophomore at Bowling Green State University, died after alleged alcohol-induced hazing at a fraternity event.

Hazing isn’t a “rite of passage,” it’s not just fun and games, and it’s not something everyone does in school. It’s dangerous, and it threatens the health and safety of Ohio students.

For every tragic death that we hear about in the news, there are many others who survive, but end up in the hospital with alcohol poisoning or other injuries — some of which can be long-term.

That’s why I reintroduced the bipartisan REACH Act, to crack down on hazing on college campuses.

It would require hazing incidents to be reported as part of a college’s annual crime report. We can’t begin to address this problem until we have good data on how many students are getting hurt, and we need to arm parents and students with more information.

The bill would also set a universal standard definition of hazing, and would require colleges to establish a campus-wide educational program, backed by evidence, to educate students about the dangers and lasting impacts of hazing.

We have to do more to stop these student deaths. Parents shouldn’t have to worry for their child’s safety just because they join a fraternity, sorority, or student organization on campus.

Hazing is a serious issue that we have the ability to combat, and we must work to stop more Ohio families from suffering the kind of pain the Foltz family is enduring.

(Brown, a Democrat, represents Ohio in the United States Senate.)

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