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Anti-hazing measure passes both Kentucky legislative chambers

Stu Johnson
Left to right-Kirk and Tracey Hazelwood-Senator Robby Mills-Representative Jonathan Dixon 03-15-23

Anti-hazing legislation has now cleared both houses of the Kentucky General Assembly. The tragic alcohol-related death of a western Kentucky teenager was a significant part of legislative consideration.

Senate Bill nine creates the official crime of hazing. It includes language for both felony and misdemeanor offenses. The parents of 18-year-old Lofton Hazelwood have made many trips to Frankfort to tell their son's story. The University of Kentucky student died in October 2021 following hazing activity. His blood alcohol level was more than .3 percent.

Following a committee hearing Wednesday, Lofton's mother, Tracey Hazelwood said hazing has no place in fraternity pledging.

“You know, it’s not brotherhood. That’s not brotherhood. Hazing and all that. That is not brotherhood. You know when you join your fraternity, it’s supposed to be brotherhood. There’s nothing about any of that that says brotherhood.”

Corydon Representative Jonathan Dixon said the bill’s been amended to remove the mental health provision, leaving direct physical harm. The western Kentucky lawmaker added the measure would pertain to those directly engaged in the act of hazing.

“This is just merely putting in those guardrails when our kids are at college and they’re up there having a good time, that everyone knows that hazing is not acceptable and that there is a penalty that comes with it,” said Dixon.

The legislation includes language for both felony and misdemeanor offenses for hazing activities.

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Stu has been reporting for WEKU for more than 30 years.
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