Cheerleader Hazing

Cheerleader Hazing

Cheerleader hazing has become a popular tradition across the United States, in which older, more senior cheerleaders use ritual ceremonies to initiate new cheerleaders to the team. Although cheerleader hazing used to be more prominently seen in college settings, today, many high school cheer squads have created their own set of abusive rituals as well.  

Types of Cheerleader Hazing

Although most parents would like to believe cheerleader hazing consists of waking the girls up in the middle of the night and making them attend breakfast in their pajamas, cheerleader hazing is not always that innocent.  

There have been numerous reports of senior cheerleaders humiliating new teammates in front of the other team members or in public, and in harsher cases, subjecting them to painful, even life-threatening situations. Some reported hazing incidents include: 

  • Spanking the new cheerleaders with a paddle, sometimes over a lap, knee or furniture

  • Servitude such as waiting on the senior cheerleaders, which typically involves embarrassing tests of obedience and loyalty

  • Some hazing rituals involve eating or drinking gross foods such as bugs or rotten food; or, in some more embarrassing cases, the new cheerleaders may have to eat or drink from absurd containers such as a dog bowls or Frisbees

  • Other rituals involve forced alcohol consumption

  • In some hazing rituals the new teammates are forced to line up in rows and are humiliated by being hosed by a sprinkler, buckets or hoses, covered with dirt or even food products such as eggs, tomatoes and flour

  • Embarrassing markings may be written, painted or shaved on clothing or skin

  • Forcing young cheerleaders to perform sexual acts on fruit or other objects in front of the other members, or even in public 

Cheerleader Hazing is a Crime

Although some hazing rituals consist of harmless, practical jokes, many cheerleader hazing rituals that include physical and emotional abuse can be classified as crimes and should not go unpunished.   

Often times young, new cheerleaders are too afraid to tell on their senior squad members out of fear that they may not be accepted by the other cheerleaders, so many illegal hazing ceremonies go unreported.  

Because hazing is about group dynamics and proving one’s worthiness to becoming a member of the team, most individuals involved with hazing are sworn to secrecy. 

Cheerleader Hazing Lawsuits

There have been several lawsuits brought against cheerleaders involved in hazing, either by the cheerleaders themselves or by their parents. A couple examples include: 

  • Morton Valley Ranch High School, Houston Texas: In November 2008, seven varsity cheerleaders were indicted on hazing charges. They allegedly restrained several junior varsity cheerleaders, blindfolded them, binded their hands with duct tape and threw them into a pool. The girls face six moths in jail and fines up to $2,000. 

  • Mission Hills High School California: The parents of a freshman cheerleader threatened to file a personal injury lawsuit against the school district claiming their daughter was the victim of cheerleader hazing in July 2006. Senior cheerleaders forced their daughter to wear a dog collar while a varsity cheerleader walked her around on a leash during cheerleading camp at UCLA. 

Have you or someone you love been victimized by cheerleader hazing? If so, you are not alone. Contact us today to speak with an experienced, aggressive personal injury attorney who will fight to ensure all liable parties are held accountable for their actions.

Find a Lawyer Now

Search for a Personal Injury lawyer in your state or province by using the forms to the right.