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SANDY SPRINGS | Lawmaker introduces tougher anti-hazing bill | News

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SANDY SPRINGS | Lawmaker introduces tougher anti-hazing bill
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ATLANTA - It's an underground culture, in some cases an epidemic, that has recently taken one student's life. Now a Georgia lawmaker has written a bill that he hopes will end hazing in Georgia.

Representative Joe Wilkinson (R-Sandy Springs) introduced House Bill 659 last session. If passed, anyone found guilty of hazing would be ineligible to enroll in or attend school in the state of Georgia.

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"We do have very strong anti-hazing bills currently on the book, anti-bullying bills, but perhaps we need to do something else," he said.

"We were hearing stories about a recurrence of hazing, but it wasn't in fraternities and sororities where it had taken place in the past," he added. "It was more in high school and minor sports teams."

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Two months ago, Florida A&M university drum major and Decatur native Robert Champion died after being beaten by fellow students aboard a bus. The Orange County medical examiner ruled his death homicide caused by hazing.

Georgia already has a hazing law on the books, but offenders only face a misdemeanor. In Florida, where Champion died, hazing is a third-degree felony, punishable by up to five years in prison.

Since Champion's death in November, Florida congresswoman Frederica Wilson has announced plans to introduce an anti-hazing bill into Congress. That law would punish students who submit to hazing along with those who actually do it.

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