Last year, when I read an article in The New York Times about the gruesome death that resulted from “blunt force trauma that caused hemorrhaging and left deep bruises on a man’s chest, arms, shoulder and back,” I expected the story to recount murder by an armed and dangerous criminal.
But I was heartbroken to learn that this death was brought about by band members from Florida A&M.
High school and collegiate bands remind me of intelligent students pumping up a crowd’s spirit during football games. What doesn’t come to mind is violent murderers who strangle, hit and even kill fellow members of their organization.
While schools have become careful to implement anti-hazing programs for fraternities and sororities after tragedies of students striving to gain acceptance, the same is not true in marching bands.
Students join marching band because they enjoy the friendships, but also because they like interacting with an enthusiastic crowd and making music. There are very few opportunities that mimic the chance to play one’s instrument in front of a crowd of cheering fans while the football team scores the winning touchdown.
I have found out that this is not the only school where hazing is a part of joining the marching band.
We can’t continue to ignore these egregious acts. Schools should implement measures to ensure a safe environment for students who want to pursue their passions. There should be strict contracts with harsh punishments for anyone who breaks them.
Alyssa Jacobson is a sophomore majoring in advertising and political science.